Report: Plymouth Gas Explosion Caused by Rupture

Officials from Northwest Pipeline say that last week’s dramatic explosion at an East Washington storage facility was caused by a pressure vessel rupture.

The Washington Post reports that the rupture occurred on a vessel that removes the carbon dioxide from the gas prior to liquefaction.

Five people were hospitalized after the explosion, which occurred at a facility that stores liquefied natural gas, also known as LNG. The facility is in the small community of Plymouth, which is on the border with Oregon. Plymouth is about 230 miles southeast of Seattle and 190 miles northwest of Portland.

Officials from Northwest Pipeline held a meeting with community members and reiterated that they believe that their LNG facility is safe.

“We’ve narrowed our investigation down to a pressure vessel, but what we don’t know right now is exactly why that tank ruptured,” Northwest Pipeline vice-president Ed Brewer told community members.

Reporters from KEPR-TV asked Brewer why no evacuation order was issued to residents on the Oregon side of the blast radius. Officials say that Umatilla County authorities declined to issue the orders.

The LNG blast sent debris flying about 100 yards and damaged a nearby rail line. It is unknown whether the blast was due to the age of the facility or human error.