The fire was visible for miles, local TV news reported. Police warned anyone who could see the flames to evacuate — and the Emergency Management Agency director of neighboring Ohio County said officials had received dozens of 911 calls from locals able to see the fire, which was extinguished roughly four hours later. The blast was so powerful that one resident told a local CBS affiliate it felt like a tornado was passing through.
No one was injured, and no property damage was reported, TransCananda said in a statement released today, adding that the cause of the explosion was not yet determined.
The Leach XPress pipeline is just six months old, having been put into service on January 1, 2018.
At the time, TransCanada emphasized that it was built quickly — but safely. “Leach XPress was done in less than a year,” Scott Castleman, manager of U.S. Gas Communications for TransCanada, said in a January statement.
“We’re looking forward to generations of safe operations,” he added. “This is truly a best-in-class pipeline and we look forward to many years of safe, reliable, and efficient operation on behalf of our customers.”
Leach XPress is the first in a series of major TransCanada pipeline construction projects — and part of a larger sprint to build out oil and gas pipelines nationwide, spurred by an urgent push to get shale gas and oil to market.
“This is our first major pipeline in our growth portfolio,” Castleman said in January. “There’s currently about 8 and a half billion dollars in pipeline projects in the works for the U.S. and TransCanada.”
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