Gas Plant Blast Injures Five

Thursday, August 18, 2011 @ 06:08 PM gHale

What went wrong? That is the question officials are still asking after a gas plant explosion during routine maintenance that injured five people in northeastern Illinois.

Joe Hollier, a spokesman for Kinder Morgan, the company that operates the natural gas pipeline south of Herscher, said the flash fire and explosion at the Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America occurred while the employees were working in the building at station 201.

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All five who were injured work as operations specialists and welders. They were apparently working together on a welding job inside the building at the time of the flash fire and explosion.

Riverside Medical Center received three patients from the explosion, said Judy Pretto, hospital marketing and public relations manager. Two suffered minor injuries and they ended up airlifting the other Loyola University Hospital with critical burn injuries.

Schematic from the Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America shows a cross section of typical aquifer gas storage field showing injected gas displacing water.

Schematic from the Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America shows a cross section of typical aquifer gas storage field showing injected gas displacing water.


Provena St. Mary’s Hospital in Kankakee received two patients injured in the explosion, and both were in a stable condition, said hospital spokeswoman Melissa Tanner.

No other employees were working in or around the building at the time of the explosion, officials said.

The gas plant sits on 80 acres and uses an underground gas dome as a reservoir for approximately 120 billion cubic feet of gas stored at depths of 1,900 to 2,400 feet. Above ground, a system of wells and piping cover approximately six square miles.



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