BBC Home > BBC News > Americas

Burst oil pipe sprays Vancouver

25 July 07 04:27 GMT

A major oil pipeline has burst in a suburb of Vancouver, Canada, causing homes to be evacuated and threatening the city's port.

Witnesses described crude oil shooting out of the burst pipe. The oil then ran downhill and into an ocean inlet before the pipeline's flow was shut off.

A roadwork crew ruptured the pipe, said Derek Corrigan, the mayor of Burnaby.

Officials for the port of Vancouver said they were working to contain the spill away from the busy harbour.

At least 50 homes were evacuated as crude oil shot out of the burst pipe, raining down on houses and coating a road.

Environmental assessment

It is not yet known exactly how much oil has entered Burrard Inlet, but Mayor Corrigan said "thousands of litres" had been spilt.

Witnesses described a geyser of oil which lasted at least 20 minutes.

Government officials are on the scene to assess damage to the environment.

A spokesman for the pipe's owner, Kinder Morgan Canada, said the pipeline was adequately marked and it was the roadcrew's fault for digging into it.

The crew that dug into the line said it was improperly marked.

The pipeline carries crude oil from the province of Alberta to a storage and transfer facility on the shore of Burrard Inlet.

Afternoon traffic was disrupted with a major road connecting central Vancouver and the eastern suburbs closed and delays on a suburban rail line.

Related BBC sites