A natural gas pipeline explosion east of Pittsburgh injured a man, damaged two homes, melted a road and caused natural gas prices to spike, according to a recent article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
A large Texas Eastern transmission line — 30 inches in diameter — burst open in Salem, PA, on April 29, shooting flames into the sky that could be seen for miles. Residents reported hearing a deafening gush of air, the Post-Gazette reported.
The impact spread beyond Western Pennsylvania, as the explosion rocked U.S. commodity markets, sending natural gas prices to their highest levels in 13 weeks over concerns that the incident could disrupt natural gas supplies, the article states.
“The windows were moving. It sounded like a bunch of jets,” said Diane Brown, who lives about half a mile from the site of the explosion. “You could feel the heat on your face.” Emergency crews took a man who had been inside his home when the line exploded to UPMC Mercy Hospital, and officials evacuated about a dozen homes within a quarter mile and closed a portion of Route 819 for hours.
Pete Rugh, 84, who had lived in the Salem area all his life, told the Post-Gazette he’s been afraid of a natural gas rupture since the network pipelines were first laid in the 1950s. “His home, just up the hill from the site of the explosion, lit up in orange just as Mr. Rugh was sitting down in his easy chair to read the morning paper,” the article states. “I jumped in my truck and took off,” he said.
The Delmont Compressor Station, a large complex of tanks and pipes that process natural gas, is less than two miles away, and a natural gas storage field that spans 39 square miles lies underneath the pipelines.
The damage to the pipeline that crosses half the U.S. disrupted natural gas shipments from Western Pennsylvania to the Northeast and sent natural gas futures surging as much as 5.6 percent on the New York Mercantile Exchange on speculation that the outage will limit supplies to the Northeast, according to the article.
To read the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, click here.
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