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NEB blames Enbridge fire on poor oversight

CALGARY - The National Energy Board says poor oversight and communication were to blame for an Enbridge natural gas pipeline fire west of Toronto more than three years ago.

In September 2009, a contractor was working on the line in Mississauga, Ont., and damaged part of it, causing gas to escape and ignite and producing a 50-metre-high flame.

No one was hurt and the environmental impact was limited, but a building, vehicles and construction equipment were damaged.

The NEB says Enbridge's gas distribution unit did not have a copy of its safety manual on site and didn't adequately communicate hazards to contracted workers or make sure they were following proper procedures.

Both Enbridge (TSX:ENB) and its contractor, Robert B. Somerville Co. Ltd, have pleaded guilty to violations under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Ontario Court of Justice has sentenced each to a $50,000 fine.

Enbridge is looking to build a $6-billion pipeline connecting oilsands crude to the West Coast — a proposal opponents say could cause dire environmental damage in the event of a spill.

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