-30 and no natural gas heat

Many of the 4,000 residents of southeastern Manitoba affected by a natural gas pipeline explosion proved to be creative and resilient as they entered a third day without heat Monday.

Steve Cope was using an electric fireplace and two portable space heaters to keep his two-storey home in Niverville warm as the temperature outside dipped to near -30 C.

"One (space heater) we've got actually facing the cold-air return on our furnace, so it's kind of blowing that air into that cold-air return. And we have the fan running on the furnace so it's kind of circulating throughout the house," Cope said.

TransCanada PipeLines vice-president Karl Johannson said the company hoped to have natural gas service restored to everyone by midday Tuesday. He suggested some communities could have gas back by Monday night.

There were no reports of injuries from the fiery blast, but Johannson apologized and promised that the company would cover any direct losses people experienced.

"We are sorry the impact this is created," he said. "We are doing everything we can to restore natural gas services from our pipeline so that your homes and businesses can enjoy the heat that they rely on, especially during this type of cold weather."

He thanked neighbours for helping each other by sharing space heaters and offering accommodation.

Patrick Guenette, his wife and two children spent Saturday night with his parents in St. Adolphe before he managed to borrow and buy a total of five space heaters. The family was back in the home Sunday.

Municipalities in the region south of Winnipeg had set up warming centres on the weekend for people who were no longer able to stay in their homes, but the centres were virtually empty.


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