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Natural gas pipeline explosion affects Providence and surrounding areas

OTTERBURNE, January 27, 2014 - In what has been a very eventful weekend in the Providence community, the students and employees of Providence University College & Seminary want to thank Manitoba Hydro, the Emergency Measures Organization, local community officials, and many others for their support in dealing with the repercussions of Saturday morning’s natural gas pipeline explosion.

Providence, as well as many of the towns in the RMs of Hanover, Ritchot and De Salaberry was affected by a TransCanada natural gas pipeline explosion only a few kilometers away from Providence on January 25th at 1:00 a.m.  Without power at times and more importantly without natural gas, the TransCanada Corporation (TCC) and Manitoba Hydro were put into action to rectify the situation and assist the communities that were affected.  On the Providence campus, the buildings that were immediately affected were the four-plex dormitories, cafeteria cooking facilities, and a few homes.

Although the natural gas outage has many ramifications on campus, the Providence community, made up of students and families totaling approximately 300 people, is very fortunate to have some alternative methods of heating.

A couple of years ago, Providence installed a Biomass heating system, that is fuelled by burning wood pellets, which heats the main administration building (Hanna Centre), and one of the women’s dormitories (Eichhorst Hall).  The heating in the Student Life Centre, which includes the dining hall, is powered by geothermal heating, allowing us to keep that building functioning as well.

Thanks to our alternative forms of heating, the Providence community has been able to adjust to the situation with minimal difficulty. Students in the affected dormitories were given space heaters along with an opportunity to move for a night to a warmer location, as well, food services and other amenities are still available for students.

Fortunately, there were only a few students on campus this weekend, as many were attending a school retreat, and others tend to go home or stay elsewhere during weekends. We did however, feel the need to cancel today’s (January 27) classes to allow for Manitoba Hydro, the TCC, and our facilities staff the time and space to get everything back in order.

As of this morning, at 9:00 a.m., Manitoba Hydro has stated that the TCC is working to bypass the damaged section of the pipeline, and that gas supply to south central Manitoba could resume as early as Monday night.  The TCC will restore the gas supply in two stages, working with the communities north of the damaged section first, and then moving to the southern communities shortly after.  Once gas has been restored, Manitoba Hydro will begin checking each residence to ensure services are restored properly.

Currently, Manitoba Hydro is delivering compressed gas cubes carrying natural gas to critical locations. Otterburne received an emergency shipment this morning, allowing Providence, and Otterburne community residents to receive natural gas. All affected Providence facilities now have heat and access to gas. The facilities staff at Providence continue to make sure the campus facilities are running. The safety of our students is the first priority.

10 College Crescent
Otterburne, Manitoba, Canada, R0A 1G0
Phone: (204) 433-7488 or (800) 668-7768
Fax: (204) 433-7158
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