Dime sized hole led to deadly gas line blast at Midland, Texas

An investigation by Texas regulators revealed a dime-sized hole was to blame for a natural gas explosion Aug. 9 that killed a 3 year old girl in Midland, Texas.

The gathering line owned by Targa Pipeline Mid-Continent West Texas was only 20 feet from the mobile home and was not odorized, so the leak could not be smelled by the residents.

Delaney Tercero and her sister and parents were burned in the explosion and she died two days later,  just a week short of her 4th birthday.

After the Texas Railroad Commission sent inspectors to the explosion site, the pipeline was excavated. They discovered the steel wall of the line and the tar coating had been compromised and there was a hole about the size of a dime where the gas had leaked for an unknown amount of time.

E and E News reported Targa hired a contractor to remove a 19-foot section of the pipe, and it was taken to a Targa location under “lock and key,” the records state. The pipe will reportedly be sent to a laboratory for examination. RRC officials wrote that only Targa lawyers have access to the damaged pipe.

The young victim’s 2-year old sister remains hospitalized at a hospital in Lubbock.

It was one of two fatal pipeline explosions in the Midland area last month. An Aug. 1 explosion sent five pipeline workers and two firefighters to the hospital. They had been responding to a gas pipeline leak. One of the pipeline workers, 63-year-old Bud Taylor, died two days later.

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