There were some tense moments Friday morning when the unmistakable odor of the compound used in propane tanks wafted over downtown Lillooet.
Around 10 a.m., the Lillooet Fire Department ordered the evacuation of the Hotel DeOro, the D’Oro Coffee Lounge, the Government Agent’s Office, the Open Door Employment Centre and the office of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, all located in the 600-block of Main Street.
“When we arrived on the scene, we didn’t know where the gas was coming from,” Fire Chief David Harder told the News Monday, June 11. “We ordered a tactical evacuation of those places as a precaution until we had a better idea of what we were dealing with.”
As Fire Department members began to investigate the source of the gas leak, “in short order” they spotted a SuperSave refuelling truck behind the nearby Hotel Victoria.
Harder said a repairman had repaired a gas leak at the Hotel Victoria tank a couple of days earlier and the repairman thought he had rectified the problem.
“He must have disturbed something in the process of doing the repairs.”
The Fire Chief noted that Friday was a “fairly windy” day. The smell from the leaking tank was carried uphill by the wind and was smelled as far away as Pine Street.
Harder said propane itself is odorless, but an odorant added to the propane becomes more noticeable when a tank is emptying or nearing empty.
He added that it was fortunate the Fire Department did not have to expand the evacuation on a “sunny Friday when the streets are busy.”