Massive Gas Pipeline Blast Hits in Ohio

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 @ 04:02 PM gHale

Residents could see flames for miles after a gas pipeline explosion rocked residents in eastern Ohio.

A dispatcher for the Columbiana County Sheriff’s Office in Ohio said officials had no reports of injury from the nighttime explosion Feb. 10 and fire near Hanoverton. She said there was no mandatory evacuation but those in the village of about 400 people and surrounding towns who wanted to leave their homes could find shelter at a school and the Salineville Fire Department.

The explosion occurred about 10:30 p.m. There were no structural fires, said Robert Newberry, a spokesman for El Paso Corp., which operates Tennessee Gas Pipeline. One house did suffer damage, however, the company said. Newberry said they evacuated one nearby resident.

Company spokesman Richard Wheatley said the explosion involved a 36-inch, buried transmission line that carries natural gas through the region. Mechanisms in the section that “failed” automatically shut off the segment and the residual gas burned off, he said.

In 2007, El Paso Corp. agreed to a $15.5 million fine as part of a settlement with the government involving an explosion in 2000 near Carlsbad, N.M., that killed 12 people camping near a 50-year-old pipeline. The settlement included a commitment from El Paso to spend $86 million to modify its 10,000-mile pipeline system.

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