A natural gas pipeline ruptured early on Sunday morning, March 3, 2019, a little outside Mexico, Missouri, causing a massive fire. After the initial explosion, flames could be seen as far as 30 miles away.
Local Fire Chief Steve Gentry said his crews weren’t able to battle the blaze when they first arrived because the flames were so intense. It burned for several hours before it could be extinguished.
“The noise, it was unbelievable,” said a witness.
Fortunately, the rupture occurred in a fairly remote area. Several homes were left without power, and a local construction project was destroyed. But there were no serious injuries reported, according to the sheriff’s office.
About 1,000 feet of nearby highway was severely damaged and had to be closed for repairs.
According to MoDOT Area Engineer Brian Haeffner, the extreme heat of the fire and explosion caused the oil that binds the aggregate within the roadway to be “cooked” out. This resulted in an unstable driving surface with damage of unknown depths, and holes as big as 10″ wide.
“The surface is still soft within that 1000 feet, so we appreciate motorists following the reduced speed limit until it can be permanently repaired,” Haeffner said.
What caused the ruptured pipeline is still unknown.
The pipeline is owned by Panhandle Eastern Pipeline Co. This company has a history of regulatory issues, according to media reports and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and U.S. Department of Transportation documents.
Panhandle’s owner had its permit reviews suspended last month by Pennsylvania regulators after the company failed to comply with orders after an explosion there last fall.
This explosion was in Missouri just a couple of weeks ago.
Here locally, in Blanco County and a 490 mile swath across the state of Texas, Kinder Morgan wants to build a 42″ pipeline that will severely endanger people, homes, businesses, wildlife, livestock, and our precious water.
Kinder Morgan may have an even worse safety record than Panhandle Eastern.
The evacuation zone with a pipeline that size is nearly a 1 1/2 mile radius.
The incineration zone, where everything is burned to a complete crisp within seconds, is officially estimated to be about a 1,200 foot radius in all directions.
As if that’s not bad enough, records of blasts in recent years tell a different story. Actual blast areas average about 50% further reach.
So instead of immediate 2,400 foot wide incineration, it could easily be 3,500 feet or more. And fires do tend to spread.
I didn’t see many trees in the pictures of the recent pipeline explosion in Missouri. That fire took nearly EIGHT HOURS to put out.
The Texas Hill Country is covered in cedar trees. How long will a fire burn here? How fast will it spread?
Adding Insult to Injury
The chemicals needed to extinguish a fire like this, in an area like ours with a honeycomb type aquifer, will totally contaminate our future water supply.
We must not allow Kinder Morgan, or any other company,
to put their pipeline here.
Join us in pushing back on Kinder Morgan so we can save our Hill Country Legacy for ourselves and for generations.
Please let us know how you would like to help. Thank you!
Photo credit: WDAF-TV Kansas City