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Gas Lines Beset by Ruptures, Explosions

Gas Lines Beset by Ruptures, Explosions

The last couple of weeks have seen a number of mishaps involving natural gas lines, one of them resulting in fatalities.

Last week, MichCon crews restored gas service to Detroit customers after a water main break caused a nearby gas line to rupture, creating the largest problem the company said it's had to deal with in 150 years of serving Detroit.

Elsewhere, gas leaking from a ruptured Northern States Power Co. pipeline exploded, killing four people and destroying three buildings in downtown St. Cloud, MN, Dec. 11. Sixteen also were injured after construction workers apparently ruptured the gas line. Two workers from Northern States Power who had responded to the leak were killed in the blast. A third victim was a tenant of an apartment above one of the buildings that collapsed. The fourth victim was a woman walking in the area. The Minnesota Office of Pipeline Safety sent two inspectors to the scene, and an eight-person team from the National Transportation Safety Board arrived also was sent. St. Cloud is about 70 miles northwest of the Twin Cities.

And in Continental Divide, NM, there was an explosion and fire stemming from a failed gate valve on the El Paso Natural Gas mainline Dec. 12. No injuries were reported, and El Paso said all service had been restored as of the following evening.

Joe Fisher, Houston

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