Fortis crews were digging up Columbia Street near Third Avenue at about 5:40 p.m. Wednesday in an attempt to shut off a natural gas line that erupted in front Royal Inland Hospital 90 minutes earlier.
The line burst open when it was struck by an excavator working on clearing a site for hospital expansion.
"We heard this racket and this huge — I mean huge — almost a mushroom cloud of dust went up," said Ken Buckroyd, who manages Sonus Kamloops Hearing Clinic across the street.
Emergency crews blocked off the 300 block of Columbia. Nearby businesses were checked for the smell of gas, but there was no evacuation.
Fortis planned to crimp the gas line near Third and Columbia in order to shut off the gas.
As of 7 p.m., the gas was off and a crew worked on repairing the pipe. Columbia was open to traffic westbound, but eastbound was still closed. Half an hour later, one lane eastbound was open.