A gas pipeline operated by the Colonial Pipeline Company exploded Oct. 31, in Shelby County, Alabama, killing at least one person and causing serious injury to several others.
At least five workers were severely burned and had to be airlifted to the hospital. Several nearby homes were evacuated, reports The Associated Press, according to The Weather Channel.
The explosion occurred only five miles from a Colonial pipeline leak that occurred in early September. That leak caused the pipeline, which runs from Houston to New York, to be temporarily shut down. As the company explained at the time:
On September 9, 2016, a state mining inspector in Shelby County, Ala., detected a gasoline odor at a surface mine and alerted Colonial Pipeline, which operates two pipelines in the immediate vicinity. Upon notification, Colonial Pipeline initiated a shutdown of both lines, known as Line 1 and 2, and mobilized a coordinated response effort with federal, state and local agencies as well as local emergency responders. Later that day, it was confirmed that the released product was gasoline and Line 2, which transports diesel, jet fuel and other refined products, was placed back into service.
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The Oct. 31 explosion has once again caused the pipeline to be shut down, which AAA expects to affect gas prices in the southeast and mid-Atlantic, reports CNN. "We were just beginning to recover from the gas price hikes we saw from the pipeline closure in September," said AAA spokesman Garrett Townsend. "The explosion will at least temporarily put a halt to the pump-price dip we've experienced over the past 30 days."
The explosion, which happened in an area stricken by severe drought, ignited additional fires, WIAT reported. More than 30 acres have been scorched, Alabama Forestry Commission spokeswoman Coleen Vansant told the AP. "The fire will not be out anytime soon," Shelby County Sheriff Maj. Ken Burchfield told AL.com.
According to the Colonial Pipeline website, the company “delivers more than 100 million gallons of refined products each day to markets between Houston and New York City, serving more than 50 million people. We transport refined petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, home heating oil and fuels for the U.S. military. Our pipeline system consists of more than 5,500 miles of underground pipe and above ground storage tanks and pump stations.”