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Wrongful death lawsuit filed over 2016 Colonial Pipeline explosion

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala.- The wife of a man killed in a 2016 pipeline explosion has filed a lawsuit against Colonial Pipeline.

The family of Anthony Willingham alleges the company placed speed and profit above safety.

Nine contractors were working on-site the day of the Colonial Pipeline explosion in Shelby County in October 2016.

More than 165,000 pounds of fuel burned and spilled in the leak.

Willingham's family is now accusing the company in federal court of pushing Willingham and his crew to work quickly, without a full understanding of the location and depth of the pipeline.

The lawsuit says prior to the 2016 explosion, Colonial knew fires and explosions were possible if the pipeline was struck. The suit also states that the company failed to properly supervise crews and follow federal regulations, industry standards, and Colonial's own policies.

The company says a federal investigation into the events that led to the explosion is still ongoing.

Attorneys for the family tell WHNT News 19 they believe corporate greed is to blame for Willingham's death, and they want those responsible to be held accountable. They want a jury to hear the case and determine if damages are appropriate.

Colonial Pipeline representatives confirmed to WHNT News 19 they were aware of the lawsuit. The company released the following statement:

"Colonial Pipeline is aware of the lawsuit that was filed, and we continue to dispute the allegations made. We are limited in what we can say about the matter due to an ongoing federal investigation.

"Colonial remains committed to transporting refined energy products safely and reliably.   Through our safety program we establish and maintain strategic partnerships with our contractors to complete work in a manner that protects people, communities and the environment where our facilities and pipelines are located.

"We also have an extensive program to monitor and maintain our pipeline system.  This includes our integrity management program, use of technology, and our public awareness program which focuses on sharing safe excavation practices."

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