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  • Flames shoot into the sky from a gas line explosion in western Shelby County, Alabama, U.S., October 31, 2016.

    Flames shoot into the sky from a gas line explosion in western Shelby County, Alabama, U.S., October 31, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 1 November 2016
Opinion

It's the company’s second major incident since September.

As DAPL pipeline protesters continue to warn the world of the dangers of big oil, a gasoline pipeline owned by Colonial Pipeline Company exploded on Monday, killing one worker and injuring at least five others. The rupture in Shelby County, Alabama, happened near a spill that occurred in September along the same pipeline.

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The massive explosion sent fire across the forest, where a number of people were evacuated from the area and the fire which burned late into Monday night was eventually brought under control.

Colonial said late on Monday that the explosion happened when the crew conducting work on the pipeline hit the main gasoline line with excavation equipment. Among the nine-person crew working at the site, one was killed and five others were taken to hospitals in the Birmingham area for treatment.

The Shelby County Sheriff's Office said the explosion was an accident and ruled out any suspicious terrorist activity.

The company did not specify an exact time when the pipeline would be operational again, but it is expected to be shut down for at least a week. The pipeline transports millions of barrels of diesel and aircraft fuel, as well as gasoline, to the east coast of the country each day.

On Sept. 9, a leak occurred several miles down the same line as yesterday’s explosion, which spilled more than 300,000 gallons of gas into the local environment. The September leak was the worst for the company in around two decades, stopping supplies for more than 12 days and sending local prices soaring.
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