Another Pipeline Rupture Injures Seven (7) Workers

by Duane Nichols on November 1, 2016

Alabama Pipeline Explosion from Fire Truck

Pipeline Blast in Alabama Injures Seven (7) Workers

This Article from the Associated Press, NBC NEWS, October 31, 2016

HELENA, Ala. (AP) — At least seven workers were injured Monday when an explosion occurred along the Colonial Pipeline in rural Alabama, not far from where it burst last month, authorities said.

The explosion sent flames soaring over the forest about a mile west of where the pipeline burst in September, Gov. Robert Bentley said in a statement. That rupture led to gasoline shortages across the South.

People within 3 miles of the blast site were being evacuated, the governor said. ”We’ll just hope and pray for the best,” the governor added. Video from area media shows a huge plume of flame and smoke rising in a wooded area in Shelby County southwest of Birmingham.

The seven injured workers were taken to Birmingham hospitals by helicopter and ambulance, Bentley told WBRC-TV in a live interview Monday evening.

“It appears to have been an accident, and they’re allowing fuel to burn,” Bentley said. “It’s about one mile west of where the repair took place on the Colonial Pipeline just recently.”

Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline said in a brief statement Monday evening that it has shut down its main pipeline. ”Colonial’s top priorities are the health and safety of the work crew on site and protection of the public,” the company said.

Several fire departments were sending crews to assist. Helena police say they’re assisting Shelby County authorities with the blaze. The explosion happened in a remote area outside the town of Helena, away from residential areas, Helena Mayor Mark told WBRC-TV.

PHOTO: A helicopter flies through a plume of smoke from a Colonial Pipeline explosion, Oct. 31, in Helena, Ala. Colonial Pipeline said in a statement that it has shut down its main pipeline in Alabama after the explosion in a rural part of the state outside Birmingham.

In September, the Colonial Pipeline leaked thousands of gallons of gas southwest of Birmingham near Helena and led to dry fuel pumps in several Southern states — for days, in some cases. There was no immediate indication Thursday whether or not Monday’s explosion will lead to similar shortages.

Colonial Pipeline, based in Alpharetta, Georgia, transports more than 100 million gallons of products daily to markets between Houston and New York City, serving more than 50 million people, it says on its website. They include petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel. Authorities have not said which type of fuel was involved in the explosion Monday.

NOTE: “Some 220 ‘Significant’ Pipeline Spills Already This Year Exposes Troubling Safety Record” — By Dan Zukowski,, October 25, 2016

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica Mensch November 7, 2016 at 12:28 am

Pipeline Explosion: How Would Greensboro React?

From Jessica Mensch,, November 2, 2016

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Greensboro is a major hub for Colonial Pipeline– a company that has had two major accidents in two months.

WFMY News 2 took a look at the safety precautions Greensboro has in place if a pipeline here were to leak or explode.

The Greensboro Fire Department would be the first responders if an accident were to happen involving gas lines or tanks.

“Due to our training, due to the equipment you see here, Greensboro is more than prepared to deal with any emergency that comes about,” Battalion Chief Chris Johnson said.

We saw the Department’s response firsthand in 2010.

 A lightning bolt struck one of the Colonial Pipeline gas tanks off of I-40 and sparked a major fire. 

 The department used a special kind of foam to contain the blaze in mere minutes.

 Not all fire departments have this foam on hand. However, Greensboro does, specifically because of Colonial Pipeline’s large presence in the city.

Fifty firefighters are part of a “Foam Response Team” that has monthly trainings to deal with containing fires and leaks involving fuel.



Dennis Pillion November 7, 2016 at 12:48 am

Colonial Pipeline restarts 6 days after explosion

From Dennis Pillion,, November 6, 2016

Colonial Pipeline has restarted its primary gasoline line six days after an explosion in Shelby County, Alabama that killed one worker, injured four others and sparked a fire that burned for days within the pipe. 

A statement from Colonial says the line was restarted at 5:45 a.m. Sunday after crews replaced the segment of pipe that was damaged in the explosion, but that “it is expected to take several days for the fuel delivery supply chain to return to normal.”

The pipeline carries 1.3 million barrels of refined gasoline per day from Houston refineries to distribution centers in the Southeast and East Coast, and is a key part of the country’s gasoline distribution system.

It’s been described as the largest gasoline pipeline in the United States, and estimated to carry 40 to 50 percent of all the gasoline used on the East Coast. 

A map released by Colonial, shows how quickly they expect gasoline to return to different parts of their system. 

The pipeline explosion occurred just before 3 p.m. on Oct. 31, when subcontractors working for the L.E. Bell Construction company were working to excavate the line for maintenance, which Colonial said was related to a gasoline leak in September that released an estimated 336,000 gallons of gasoline into an inactive coal mine about five miles east of the explosion site. 

Colonial said one the subcontractors struck the line with a trackhoe, as they were digging the dirt around it, which sparked the blaze that was visible for miles throughout the Birmingham area. First responders described the scene as a burning geyser of gasoline, or ”like Old Faithful with smoke and fire.”

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the explosion, and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is still investigating the cause the of the September leak. 

Though both incidents occurred near the Cahaba River, it is believed neither one affected the river, which is home to several federally protected species of plants and animals. 


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