On January 26, a gas pipeline exploded in Brooke County, West Virginia, sending an enormous fireball into the morning sky. Nearby residents watched in amazement, capturing snapshots and videos with their smartphones as the flames rose. The pipeline, owned by Texas-based Enterprise Products, L.P., runs adjacent to a residential area and one home was evacuated as the fire raged, but no injuries were reported.
Emergency personnel responded quickly and were able to shut off three valves on the gas pipeline to reduce the fire’s fuel source. Firefighters worked to control and monitor the blaze for several hours, but eventually had to wait until it burned itself out in the late afternoon. They said the winter weather helped contain the disaster and prevented the fire from spreading.
This incident marks the fourth major problem at a U.S. pipeline this month. This follows a gas pipeline explosion in Mississippi, an oil spill in Montana, and saltwater drilling waste spilled in North Dakota. Just a few weeks into 2015, this doesn’t set a good pace for the rest of the year.
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Enterprise Products, L.P., said they are working with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to determine the cause of the explosion. The company said in a statement that they did notice a pressure drop earlier in the day prior to the incident. The gas line will not be in operation again until PHMSA gives their approval. As of the time of writing, the exact cause of the explosion is still a mystery and the investigation is ongoing.
Via Think Progress
Images via WTRF 7.