Flash Fire at Gas Pipeline

Monday, June 3, 2013 @ 05:06 PM gHale

A flash fire at a natural gas pipeline compression facility in Branchburg, NJ, sent two construction workers to the hospital and caused minor injuries for 13 more people, officials said.

“At about 7 p.m. (Thursday) we had a flash fire at a construction project at our natural gas compression station,” Chris Stockton, a spokesman for the Williams Corporation, operator of the Transco Pipeline. “Two individuals were taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, there was no damage to the station, and it occurred on a non-active piece of pipeline.”

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Stockton said Williams investigators are on their way to the facility to determine the cause of the accident.

Mayor Jim Leonard of Branchburg said it was a minor explosion, with 13 minor injuries, and the three fire crews and EMS were off scene by about 8:30 p.m.

“We’ve been in touch with (Williams) and the Board of Public Utilities, who has put us in touch with the federal agency in charge about what steps can be taken to prevent something like this in the future,” Leonard said. “(Williams) said they are having an internal discussion about this now and will call me back.”

Leonard said he’s hoping the company will tell him what exactly exploded. He said Williams was doing some testing over the last few days but he was not sure if those tests ended up related to this incident.

Leonard said he will be speaking Thursday with the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

Chief Matt Hoffman of the Branchburg Rescue Squad confirmed an “active incident” at 8:14 p.m. but at the time he had no details or cause. He said the squad was on scene evaluating about 13 patients with minor injuries.

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