Staff from Potter Pumping Services flush a storm sewer Friday at Confederation College.
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THUNDER BAY -- The cold snap hitting this region is being blamed for a pump malfunction that spilled about 700 litres of gasoline outside a Confederation College building.
Officials with the Thunder Bay Fire and Rescue received reports of the gas leak adjacent to the college's Shuniah building on Friday morning. The gasoline pump has since been shut off and the Ministry of the Environment has been contacted.
In the meantime, crews have started the clean-up process.
"There's a local pumping company there to back-flush all the sewers, which were on their property. We're having fire crews standing by because of the high potential of gasoline vapours," said District Chief Dave Childs of the Vickers Street fire station on Friday.
Though there doesn't appear to be any immediate danger, and students were walking through the affected area while crews flushed the sewers, Childs said they weren't taking any chances.
"Even at these cold temperatures, gasoline vapours are very easily ignitable and there's the potential of cars in the area and cigarettes."
There's good news and bad news about the storm sewer the gasoline leaked into overnight, Childs added.
"This storm sewer isn't tied into the water treatment plant. It does go to the Neebing River, but we doubt that it went that far. But the Ministry of the Environment will determine that."
Anytime more than five gallons of gasoline is spilled in Ontario, the ministry must be called in to investigate.
Childs added it appears the cold triggered a faulty mechanism in a pump near the college's Shuniah building, allowing the 140 gallons of gasoline to go into the nearby storm sewer.
College officials say they were immediately notified of the issue, and said no one was hurt as a result of the spill.
They are urging caution, however.
"The college is requesting that people stay clear of the area between the Shuniah and Dorion buildings untilt he clean-up is complete."
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