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Damaged natural gas line led to Prince George explosion: RCMP

Investigators say people broke into the building overnight, were unaware of natural gas buildup
Debris blew up the block from the explosion that utterly destroyed the long abandoned Achillion Restaurant in downtown Prince George on Aug. 22, 2023. (Frank Peebles photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

RCMP say the investigation into an explosion in Prince George last month is “incredibly complex,” but investigators have found evidence of copper pipe theft which damaged a natural gas line.

Prince George RCMP said Thursday (Sept. 7) the source of the ignition that led to the explosion on Aug. 22 was due to the activities of someone who broke into the building and was unaware there was a buildup of natural gas inside the structure.

RCMP say the investigation so far has determined that the building was secured in the early evening of Aug. 21, but was broken into over the course of the night by multiple people.

“This investigation is incredibly complex and it will take time before investigators can make any further determinations, but we felt an update into the status of the investigation was necessary as so many people in our city were affected by the events of that morning,” said Prince George RCMP Cpl. Jennifer Cooper.

Police say the investigation remains ongoing. Prince George RCMP has also appealed to the public for any video footage of the explosion.

READ MORE: 3 injured after large explosion in downtown Prince George

It was in the early morning of Aug. 22 that an explosion rocked downtown Prince George. Around 7 a.m., first responders were called to the area of Fourth Avenue and Dominion Street.

Northern Health confirmed three people were taken to hospital, with only one person sustaining serious injuries.

Lauren Collins

About the Author: Lauren Collins

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media's national team, after my journalism career took me across B.C. since I was 19 years old.
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