Alabama pipe­line blast sparks wor­ries about South gas prices

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - NATION+WORLD -

A fa­tal ex­plo­sion has shut down a pipe­line sup­ply­ing gaso­line to mil­lions of peo­ple across the South­east — the sec­ond ac­ci­dent and shut­down in two months — rais­ing the specter of an­other round of gas short­ages and price in­creases.

It hap­pened when a dirt-mov­ing track hoe struck the pipe­line, ig­nited gaso­line and sparked a blast Mon­day, killing one worker and in­jur­ing five others, Ge­or­gia-based Colo­nial Pipe­line said. Flames and thick black smoke con­tin­ued to soar on Tues­day, and fire­fight­ers built an earthen berm to con­tain the burn­ing fuel.

Four of the in­jured re­mained hos­pi­tal­ized, Colo­nial spokesman Bill Barry said at a Tues­day af­ter­noon news con­fer­ence in nearby Helena, Alabama. An­other worker was treated at the scene, Barry said.

The ex­plo­sion hap­pened not far from where the Colo­nial pipe­line sprung a leak and spilled 252,000 to 336,000 gal­lons of gaso­line in Septem­ber.

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