LA Gas Pipeline Explodes

Friday, June 21, 2013 @ 05:06 PM gHale

A major natural gas pipeline exploded Tuesday in Washington Parish, Louisiana, destroying a mobile home and causing an evacuation of the area but there were no injuries, officials said.

The blast on the Florida Gas Transmission (FGT) pipeline, which transports gas from Texas to south Florida, sent a mushroom cloud into the sky and sparked a fire on the line, said Lauren Ritchie, a spokeswoman for the Washington Parish sheriff’s department.

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“There were no injuries and the damage is being assessed,” Ritchie said, adding that firefighters contained the blaze.

State and federal officials were taking air quality readings and investigating the incident, which occurred in a rural area near the town of Enon, 80 miles north of New Orleans. Ritchie said 55 residents ended up evacuated.

A section of the pipeline shut down and natural gas rerouted to customers along other parts of the pipeline system, said a spokeswoman for Energy Transfer Partners, part-owner of FGT.

The spokeswoman did not give a timetable for when the section would restart or have any details on the cause of the explosion. FGT said repairs on the line would begin shortly.

The pipeline has the capacity to carry up to 3.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.

The incident comes as homes and businesses ratchet up their air conditioners to counter warm temperatures in the region, increasing gas consumption. FGT issued an alert on its website, saying it was capping the amount of gas that customers can take from the line due to high demand.

The explosion caused 10,000 customers of the Washington-Street Tammany Electric Cooperative in Louisiana to lose power, but a co-op representative said they quickly restored service.

Florida Gas Transmission Co LLC, an Energy Transfer Partners-Kinder Morgan Inc. affiliate owns the near 5,500-mile Florida Gas Transmission system.

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