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Fatal Texas Pipeline Blast 2nd in Two Days

Jun 10, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP

There has been a second explosion in Texas involving a natural gas pipeline. This time the blast, which occurred yesterday in Lipscomb County, in the Texas panhandle, killed two men.

An earlier explosion on Monday in Cleburne, Johnson County, south of Fort Worth, killed one utility worker.

According to a Bloomberg report, the second explosion was triggered when a dirt contracting company was hauling rock from a pit when a bulldozer struck the DCP Midstream Partners LP-owned pipeline. The blast occurred about 4 p.m. local time, sparking a fire that burned itself out after about four hours.

Denver-based DCP Midstream said the pipe involved in the blast was a 14-inch gas-gathering line, which brings natural gas from various wells together for transport to a processing plant, according to Bloomberg. The pipe has since been shut in.

In addition to the two fatalities, several injuries were reported. One man was taken by helicopter to a burn unit in Oklahoma City, while two others were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Meanwhile, investigators are still trying to figure out what caused the Cleburne blast just two days earlier. Among other things, they are trying to ascertain if the line was properly marked before utility work began at the site. Oklahoma-based C&H was digging holes to erect an electrical transmission tower when the crew nicked the 3-foot-wide gas pipe.

According to a report on DallasNews.com, Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams said the electrical contractor that clipped the underground line appears to have followed requirements to locate gas lines in the area. However, is unclear whether the work was carried out appropriately, he said.

Houston-based Enterprise Product Partners, which partially owns and operates the line, was responsible for marking the line’s location before C&H began its excavation work.


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