Thunder Bay Fire Rescue to Charge for Responding to Severed Gas Lines Due to Unchecked Digging

Thunder Bay Fire Rescue
Thunder Bay Fire Rescue

Increased Incidents of Gas Line Damage: A Costly Oversight

THUNDER BAY – NEWS – A rise in reported incidents involving homeowners and contractors unknowingly hitting natural gas lines during digging projects has prompted a change in policy. Thunder Bay Fire Rescue has announced that they will now impose a fee for responding to such emergencies if the necessary precautions haven’t been taken prior.

Individuals or contractors failing to request a locate before embarking on their digging projects and subsequently damaging a gas line will be liable to pay the current MTO Rate. This charge is $543.03 per hour for every response vehicle dispatched to the scene of the accident.

The Importance of Following The Law

It’s not merely a suggestion, but a legal requirement for both homeowners and contractors to undergo a utility line locate before initiating any digging project. Fire Chief Greg Hankkio emphasized the significance of this step, stating, “When locates aren’t requested, it not only delays the repair of the gas line but requires another locate to ensure other utilities remain unaffected. This also translates to an unnecessary burden on emergency services.”

Thunder Bay Fire Rescue has been called to address eight such incidents in the past year and a half alone. Shockingly, every single one of these emergencies could have been avoided if a proper utility line locate had been conducted.

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Requesting a Utility Line Locate: A Simple Step Towards Safety

For those planning to dig, reaching out to Ontario One Call should be on the top of their to-do list. It is advised to contact them at least five business days before any digging project begins. They can be reached via their website,, or by dialing (800) 400-2255. It’s crucial to wait until the utility line locate is complete before starting any work.

Additional Safety Precautions for Homeowners

Apart from the public utility lines, homeowners and contractors should be diligent in identifying any private underground infrastructures on their property before beginning a dig. After the completion of the project, it’s also essential to backfill any areas that were dug up, ensuring safety and reducing potential hazards.

By taking these precautions, homeowners and contractors can avoid unnecessary costs, potential hazards, and ensure the safety of their community.

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