UPDATE: Walmart open for business after sprinkler leak

Fire crews temporarily evacuated new store at Mt. Lehman interchange after a sprinkler line was broken.

Firefighters on the scene at Highstreet shopping centre.

Firefighters on the scene at Highstreet shopping centre.

Walmart is open for business – again.

The new store at the Highstreet Shopping Centre on Mt. Lehman Road was evacuated early Sunday morning after Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service team members responded to a sprinkler alarm.

When they arrived, the crew found a broken sprinkler line and detected a strong smell of gas.

Fearing a gas leak, firefighters shut down power, gas and water service, and evacuated all personnel from the facility. They also ventilated the area.

But no gas leak was found.

“To be cautious, we treated it initially as a gas leak, but further identified that it wasn’t,” explained Deputy Fire Chief Mike Helmer on Monday morning.

Two lines were broken – a sprinkler line and an HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) line.

The lines were struck by a forklift being operated at Walmart.

Helmer said the initial smell of gas was likely caused when the sprinkler line was broken.

He explained that when sprinkler piping is installed, oil is used for the fittings. He believes the smell was caused by the residue in the pipes.

“It’s a petroleum-based type of odour.”

While there was water damage caused by the leak, Walmart was open again just over four hours later.

Tanya Curtis, marketing director at Highstreet said there was minimal disruption for Walmart customers. The other current tenants, London Drugs, Marshall’s and Bouclair Home are also open for business as usual.