A pipeline explosion in Hemphill County, near Canadian, Texas, not only destroyed construction equipment, but also resulted in one worker being sent to a nearby hospital where he was treated for burn injuries.
On Friday morning, around 7:30 am, an eight man crew from Presser Construction was working on a section of natural gas pipeline just east of the Texas city of Canadian. The pipeline had previously been shut off, so the crew thought it was safe to work on. However, as they cut into the pipe, they soon discovered that residual fuel remained inside. Some of the residual gas was sucked into the running engine of a nearby track hoe, starting a fire.
The fire rapidly spread, quickly overtaking the track hoe and three other welding trucks, causing several acetylene and oxygen tanks to explode.
The operator of the track hoe was able to jump from the machinery before it was completely engulfed in flames, but sustained first-degree burns. According to officials, the worker was treated for his injuries at Hemphill County Hospital.
The4-inch low pressure pipeline was owned by DCP Midstream. The Associated Press reports that company has notified regulators of the pipeline blast, and the company’s own investigators are looking into the incident.
Incidents such as this show how dangerous it is for anyone working on or near natural gas pipelines. Even when a pipeline has been taken out of service, dangerous conditions often remain. It is generally the responsibility of the owner of the pipelines to make sure that they are maintained in adequate condition so that workers and innocent bystanders are not injured.
Source: The Associated Press, “Pipeline worker hurt in Texas Panhandle explosion,” 6/8/12.