GLOUSTER, Ohio (AP) - Engineers say landslides and a crack in a pipeline weld caused the natural gas line explosion that destroyed three houses and a barn in rural southern Ohio last year.
People as far as 12 miles away felt the Nov. 16 explosion near Glouster, but no one was seriously hurt. Houston-based Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. said the rupture was in its interstate natural gas transmission line.
The Athens Messenger (http://bit.ly/O3vcZ4 ) says engineers investigating the cause of the blast concluded that there was a pre-existing crack in a weld and that soil movement created extra stress on the pipeline.
A spokesman for the company that has since purchased Tennessee Gas Pipeline says it has developed a remediation plan and is working with regulators to get that finalized.
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Authorities say a natural gas explosion causing fires that destroyed three houses and a barn in southern Ohio apparently was ignited when a pipeline failed.
Investigators said Thursday that they believe a spark from debris, static electricity or nearby power transformers likely ignited the gas. But they can't determine the exact source.
Investigators found no evidence of criminal intent in Wednesday's explosion near Glouster. It was felt as far as 12 miles
They say the buildings were destroyed by fires from radiant heat
and not by the explosion. Two people were treated for minor
The State Fire Marshal's and Morgan County Sheriff's offices
have turned their investigations over to the U.S. Department of
Transportation. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency will
monitor for any potential effect on the environment.
Update 6:30 PM
Two residences were reported destroyed, and one person was hospitalized, after a natural gas pipeline explosion that could be seen-and heard-for miles.
The explosion happened around 8:30 Wednesday morning in a 25-inch high-pressure gas line, which is owned by Tennessee Gas Pipeline Corporation.
A resident who lives nearby says his mobile home shook, even though it was located several hundred yards from where the blast occurred.
He also said he noticed an unusual odor just after the explosion happened.
Two homes were reported destroyed as a result of the blast, including the home of John and Cathy Sayers.
" I thought God was coming today...or terrorism," Cathy Sayers told reporters. "Those were the things going through my mind...but why, here in this little community; I don't know."
One woman was taken to O'Bleness Memorial Hospital in Athens, but a Morgan County Sheriff's Deputy said she was not believed to have life-threatening injuries.
A spokesman for Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company says the explosion was the result of a rupture in the gas line. But an exact cause has not yet been determined.
Update 10:45 AM
According to a press release from the Athens County Public Information Officer, the gas line explosion occurred at 8:45 AM Wednesday, November 16th, 2011 on the Athens County and Morgan County. A large number of fires sprung up along a stretch of the pipeline. Officials with Tennessee Gas Pipeline have turned off a number of valves in an attempt to contain the fire.
Emergency personnel are reporting one home and one barn caught on fire. Nobody was at residence at the time of the explosion.
One person was treated at O'Bleness Memorial Hospital for respitory symptoms.
State Route 329 in efforts to keep vehicular traffic from the incident area.
Dispatchers in Athens and Washington Counties tell us an explosion has taken place near the county line of Athens and Morgan counties.
Few details are available, but the explosion happened shortly before 9:00 Wednesday morning. Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks says it happened on Ohio route 329 and Wrightville road in Morgan County.
It is not known if anyone has been injured. Sheriff Mincks says four miles of the pipeline is being shut down.
Stay tuned to WTAP News and www.wtap.com for the latest information.