HELENA, Ala. (AP) – An explosion has shut down a pipeline that supplies gasoline to millions of people for the second time in less than two months, raising the specter of gas shortages and price increases.
One worker was killed and a half-dozen were injured in Monday’s blast in Shelby County, Alabama. The crew was working on Colonial’s gas pipeline and experienced an incident when the track hoe they were operating hit the pipeline, causing a fire.
The plume of smoke and fire burned through the evening and into the night. There is no more plume of smoke and fire, and local emergency responders have contained the fire, which is being allowed to burn under the supervision of local fire and emergency management personnel.
Two lines were impacted. Colonial Pipeline issued a statement Tuesday saying Line 1, the gas line, remains shut down and is expected to be closed for the rest of the week. Line 2, which transports diesel, jet fuel and other distillates, was restarted at approximately 11:00 p.m. central time Monday.
“Our top priorities continue to be ensuring the safety of responders, and supporting the personnel and their families who have been impacted by this event,” Colonial said in a statement posted online. “To that end, we are working with our contractor partner and have deployed a family and community support team, which includes grief counselors. Our deepest condolences go out to the family and loved ones of the deceased, and our thoughts and prayers remain with the four individuals who were injured and who continue to receive care at area hospitals.”
An earlier pipeline leak not far from Monday’s explosion led to Colonial Pipeline to shut down the delivery system in September. That prompted dry pumps and higher prices in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina.
The effects of the latest disruption aren’t immediately clear.