One Hurt in KY Gas Pipeline Blast

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 @ 09:02 AM gHale

Residents evacuated after an explosion on a major natural gas pipeline in southern Kentucky left one person injured Thursday.

The explosion and fire in Knifley, KY, about 90 miles south of Louisville, was visible “just as plain as day” from Columbia, about 12 miles from the blaze, police said.

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Part of the Columbia Gulf Transmission pipeline, that transports fuel from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast and Midwest, was shut and had been isolated from other sections of the line, said the pipeline owner NiSource Inc. in a posting to customers. As yet the cause of the blast remained unclear.

“At this time there is no impact to commercial operations or shipper nominations,” NiSource officials said.

However, traders said the incident could add strain to a system already stretched by high demand during one of the coldest winters in decades. Pipelines across the country remain filled to capacity and inventories are draining quicker than ever.

Columbia Gulf Transmission consists of approximately 3,400 miles of pipeline, located primarily in Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky.

The Columbia system interconnects to virtually every major pipeline system operating in the Gulf Coast and interconnects with pipelines serving markets in the Midwest, Southeast and Northeast.

“Columbia Gulf operating teams detected a drop in pressure on the company’s Line 200 pipeline in Adair County. Our operating crews immediately responded to the alert and determined that there was a rupture in the pipeline,” the company said in a statement.

Police learned of an explosion at 1 a.m. Thursday, said Adair County Emergency Management Director Greg Thomas.

The explosion spawned multiple woodland and structural fires, Thomas said. Three homes were set ablaze, two of them fully destroyed, as well as two barns and four cars.

The one injured person went to an area hospital but the extent of injuries was not immediately available, Thomas said. Fire officials were allowing the fires to burn out.

The 30-inch pipeline supplies some of the fuel used to heat millions of homes and businesses in the Northeast and Midwest.

Columbia Gulf is part of NiSource’s Columbia Pipeline Group, which owns and operates more than 15,700 miles of natural gas pipelines serving customers in more than 16 states and one of the largest underground storage systems in North America.

Approximately 1.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas flows the Columbia Pipeline systems each year, according to the company’s website.

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