Colonial Pipeline: 1 killed in Shelby County gas line explosion


SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — UPDATE NOV. 2: The coroner identified the worker killed in the explosion as Anthony Willingham.

UPDATE (X2): According to Colonial Pipeline, Colonial’s gas line remains shut down and is anticipated to remain down the rest of the week.

UPDATE 11:10 PM: Colonial Pipeline says one crew member died on the scene after a gasoline line exploded Monday off Highway 13. Colonial says five victims were transported to local hospitals for treatment for injuries.

CBS42 learned earlier that four crew members were life-flighted to UAB for treatment of injuries from the explosion. According to Colonial, the contracted crew was using a trackhoe when it hit the line, igniting the gasoline, killing one crew member and injuring five others.

Colonial released a statement, which reads in part: “Our deepest condolences go out tonight to the family and friends of the person who was lost today, and our thoughts and prayers are with those who were injured.

Both Colonial pipelines in the area remain shut down. The fire at the main site continues to burn until the fuel runs out. Officials don’t have an estimate of when that might be, but tell us the fire is too hot and dangerous to fight. It is contained by a seven to eight foot dirt dam.

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Seven victims of a petroleum gas line explosion have been transported to UAB hospital. A massive plume of smoke filled the skyline after a Colonial Pipeline exploded near Helena out by Highway 13.

Four victims were airlifted to UAB, and other victims with less critical injuries were taken to Shelby Baptist by ambulance.

Fire and law enforcement responded to the scene of the explosion. At the time of the explosion, Colonial Pipeline crews were working on the line. According to L.E. Bell Construction Co based in Heflin, they had workers at the Colonial Pipeline. They aren’t releasing the number of workers they had out there this afternoon.

Alagasco initially told us the fire is from a petroleum line. At this time, the state is not sure if the explosion occurred on natural gas or petroleum, according to Gov. Robert Bentley. A three-mile radius around the blaze has been evacuated, according to Art Faulkner, the state’s EMA director.

Colonial Pipeline closed the line feeding petroleum into the fire around 4 p.m., so what is still burning is residual, and will continue to burn until all the fuel is gone.

Crews with the Alabama Forestry Commision have contained the fires that resulted from the pipeline explosion. They burned a total of 31 acres. 3 bulldozers from the AFC are on the scene, and one from Shelby County is there.

Firefighters are on the scene working to build a seven to eight foot dirt dam to contain the burning fuel until it burns out. They don’t know how long that will take or how long they will be out there.

Helena police clarified the explosion was in the Shelby County Jurisdiction, and that no Helena residents are in danger.RELATED: Helena mayor: Exploded gas line in Shelby County was Colonial Pipeline

CBS42’s Michael Oder was on the scene, about a mile and a half from the explosion site.

The explosion took place near 334 Highway 13. At this time, a response team has been called in from Jefferson County as well as a tanker from the McAdory Fire Department.

McAdory Fire. Vestavia Hills Fire Department, Shelby County’s Sheriff’s Department, Birmingham Fire, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Montevallo Fire all responded to the scene, as did the EMA and ADEM.

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