An investigation is underway into a series of natural gas pipeline explosions that injured seven persons, five critically near Midland, Texas.
One of the seven was a volunteer firefighter who responded to the explosion about 20 miles southeast of Midland Wednesday morning. The first explosion happened around 11:30 a.m. and was followed an hour later with smaller explosions.
Midland resident Amber Studie heard the blast and watched the fire from her front door.
“It was just a huge ball of fire. A huge ball of fire from looked like a mile or two away,” she said. “I was out on the porch letting my dogs outside and I just heard this loud explosion, but it was more like a rumble,” she said.
Studie CBS7 TV the blast shook her home for nearly a minute.
“I mean, it was initially scary because. We didn’t know what it was, and the rumble, we felt the rumble. It was obviously loud, we could hear it but we could feel it too,” she said.
Four pipeline workers were initially injured in the blast and three were air flighted to a Lubbock hospital for treatment of burns. The firefighter was hurt when two explosions happened after the initial blast.
One of the companies whose pipelines were involved in Wednesday’s explosions was Kinder Morgan. The firm issued a statement saying a probe was underway into what caused the pipeline failure of the El Paso Natural Gas line. Early indications suggest a third-party pipeline located near the EPNG line failed first.
A Kinder Morgan employee was one of those burned in the blast and was listed in stable condition Thursday afternoon.
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An unidentified employee with the company was among those taken to Lubbock for treatment following the explosion. Kinder Morgan states that he is in stable condition as of Thursday afternoon.
Midland Fire Marshall Dale Little told the Midland TV station the explosion was part of three natural gas pipeline explosions in Midland on FM 1379, that miles South of Highway 158.
“They had a leak on the pipeline. Fire department responded to it. Midland Fire Department and Greenwood Fire Department. And while they were down there, they were fighting some grass fires along with it. Apparently something happened to the pipeline. We don’t know what it is yet, because we can’t get in there to look at it. But they had a failure within the pipeline itself and the first one exploded. Then they had two other small explosions, one medium and one small,” he said.