A gas pipeline owned by Columbia Gulf Transmission was determined to be the cause of a Kentucky gas pipeline explosion that occurred yesterday. At least one person was taken to the hospital for treatment of burn injuries; another was reported injured but may have been treated at the scene. The gas explosion leveled homes in the rural area and destroyed farm buildings and vehicles.
Gas workers cut off the supply to the ruptured pipeline to stop the resulting fire and limit the damage caused by the blast. Firefighters were able to get the fire under control and allowed the gas to burn out to self-extinguish the remaining flames. As many as 20 other families in nearby homes were evacuated as a precaution following the gas explosion.
An investigation is underway as to the cause of the pipeline damage that allowed the rupture and blast.
A majority of gas pipeline ruptures are caused by digging or excavation near an existing pipeline without first identifying where the pipeline runs, according to the American Gas Association. Other causes include:
- Corrosion in the pipeline system
- Fire or other explosion
- Collisions by vehicles or heavy machinery with above-ground facilities
Gas companies throughout Texas and across the United States have created a call-before-you-dig program aimed at addressing the cause of almost 60 percent of pipeline ruptures. Simply by calling 811, you can request to be connected with someone in your community who can identify buried utility lines. The call should be made in advance of beginning the dig – most states have 48-72 hour turn-around policies.
Source: CNN, “Gas explosion sets homes on fire in central Kentucky,” February 13, 2014