Two people were killed and two were injured when a Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline exploded in Illinois on Tuesday, the company has confirmed.
The deaths and explosion come at a time when the pipeline company is battling to build its Trans Mountain expansion project in Western Canada in the face of fierce opposition.
On the morning of Dec. 5, farm workers struck a buried gas pipeline operated by the Texas-based multinational in Lee County, Ill. about 150 kilometres west of Chicago, according to a company statement sent to National Observer.
Local resident Colleen Clausen described “100-foot” flames to WTVO / WQRF TV local news division Eyewitness News.
“We weren’t sure if a bomb went off,” Clausen is quoted as saying.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office said two tractors got stuck, and one hit the pipeline, a Dow Jones report stated. It said the two killed were found dead at the scene and area residents rushed the other two injured to hospital. The sheriff’s office said it provide an update on Wednesday afternoon.
Lexey Long, a spokeswoman for Kinder Morgan, said the impacted pipeline has been “isolated and the area was secured.” The company is working with local, state and federal agencies on response efforts, has notified regulatory agencies and is working with customers on impacts to service, she said.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the injured and deceased,” said Long.