OH Natural Gas Pipeline Explodes


A 30-inch natural gas pipeline running through rural Noble County, Ohio, exploded Monday (Jan. 21), reportedly injuring one, destroying three homes and causing damage to three other homes, along with the surrounding terrain.

The stretch of the Texas Eastern pipeline, owned by Enbridge Inc., burst around 10:40 a.m. Monday morning. Enbridge shut off the valves to the damaged portion of pipeline in less than an hour, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

What Happened

“We got reports flames were shooting (up) 80 feet to 200 feet,” Chasity Schmelzenbach, emergency management director for Noble County, told Reuters. “You could see it upwards of 10-15 miles away. Lots of people thought it was in their backyard because it does appear large.”

The fire has been contained, though those who live nearby have been evacuated.

According to Enbridge, the pipeline in Noble County was built in 1952-53. An in-line inspection was carried out in 2012; no remediation was required.

Texas Eastern Transmission, composed of roughly 9,100 miles of pipeline, carries natural gas from the Gulf Coast and Texas to the mid-Atlantic and northeast. Enbridge assumed ownership of Texas Eastern Transmission in the acquisition of Spectra Energy in February 2017.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that between 2010 and November of last year, the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration recorded 33 “significant” incidents on Texas Eastern Transmission. (“Significant” in this context refers to the incident causing a death, an injury that results in hospitlaization or at least $50,000 in costs, as weighted in 1984 currency.)

“On behalf of Enbridge, I want to express our concern for the two individuals who were injured, as well as all those affected by this incident,” said Bill Yardley, Enbridge Executive Vice President. “We thank the first responders for their efforts and we are working closely with them and other local officials to restore the incident site safely.”

Moving Forward

Currently, Enbridge is working with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to investigate the cause, as well as monitor repairs and evaluate environmental impacts.

As of Wednesday (Jan. 23) morning, Enbridge reported that personnel are on site to further secure the area for investigation and maintenance. According to the company, this includes:

  • Isolating the other two natural gas pipelines in the right of way;
  • Monitoring air, water and soil on-site; and
  • Carrying out survey work to assist with the investigation and a move to get the pipeline back online.

No return-to-service timeline has yet been announced. The cause of the explosion has yet to be determined.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Explosions; Fire; Health & Safety; NA; North America; Oil and Gas; Pipeline

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