Washington, D.C. (Law Firm Newswire) April 2, 2014 — A natural gas pipeline in southern Kentucky exploded on a February Thursday, injuring at least one person.
The explosion occurred in Knifley, Kentucky, which is about 90 miles south of Louisville, in the early morning hours of February 13, 2014. The resulting fire was reportedly clearly visible from Columbia, some 12 miles away. One person suffered burns and was taken to a local hospital. Three houses, two barns and several cars were destroyed, according to Greg Thomas, Kentucky Emergency Management director.
“Pipeline explosions are particularly worrisome disasters,” said Washington, D.C. personal injury attorney David Lietz. “There’s simply no warning when they occur. It’s clear, however, that the majority of these explosions are the result of aging infrastructures. To the extent we can accelerate the replacement of deteriorating pipelines, we can minimize and prevent future explosions. Of course, replacing thousands of miles of pipelines is no small feat.”
The pipeline in question is buried 20 feet underground in a mountainside. Boulders flung from the site of the explosion were found blocking a road as far as 150 yards away from the crater left at the site of the accident.
The pipeline is part of the Columbia Gulf Transmission line, which consists of approximately 3,400 miles of pipeline, transporting fuel from the Gulf of Mexico to the Midwest and Northeast. The line is part of NiSource’s Columbia Pipeline Group, which includes over 16,000 miles of pipelines and serves customers in 16 states.
The loss of the 30-inch pipeline came at a time when natural gas pipelines in the Northeast United States were already operating near capacity, due to a storm that blanketed much of the East Coast with snow. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for March were up more than 5 percent by midday following the explosion.
“It is fortunate that this explosion occurred in a rural area and no one was killed,” Lietz added. “Next time, we may not be so lucky. It is important that we push for strict federal oversight of pipeline operators, regular inspections and timely replacement of outdated infrastructure.”
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