Eight others injured when Texas gas line ruptures.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010 - 10:50am

One construction worker was killed and eight were injured when a natural gas pipeline exploded in rural Johnson County, Texas Monday afternoon

Contractors were digging holes for overhead transmission lines and struck an underground natural gas pipeline, said Jack Snow, Johnson County's emergency management coordinator.

A huge fireball shot hundreds of feet into the air.

Enterprise Products of Houston owns the pipeline.

The worker killed in the blast was thrown nearly 300 feet by the initial explosion.

He worked for C&H Power Line Construction Services, a contractor for Brazos Electric Cooperative, which was installing the utility lines.

Witnesses reported hearing the blast as far as 20 miles away.

"I worked for the oil fields and I never saw anything like this," said George Smith, who heard the explosion at his home in Joshua, about 20 miles away.
"It's scary."

Officials want to know how the pipe was marked and if the construction crews were aware of the gas lines before digging.

An Enterprise Products spokesman said its control room was immediately notified of the break.

The 36-inch line was equipped with valves that automatically shut down gas to that section of pipe.

The line carries natural gas from West Texas to distributors in East Texas.
 

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