Posted: 01 Nov 2016

Colonial Pipeline Company shut down their main gasoline and distillates pipeline on Monday after an explosion in Shelby, Alabama US. A nine-person crew was working on the pipeline at the time of the explosion, two of whom had to be evacuated by air to a local hospital, and one who died at the scene.

A segment of the pipeline was undergoing maintenance when it exploded, the fire had been contained by around 9pm local time yesterday evening according to local media reports. Crews built a 2-meter high dirt dam to contain burning fuel, but the explosion also sparked a series of wildfires, burning 32 acres according to Alabama Governor Robert Bentley.

Colonial has stated that company personnel and emergency crews were responding to the incident, representatives from PHMSA have also stated they have personnel on the way to the site. A temporary flight restriction is in effect around the area of the explosion.

This is the second time in two months the pipeline has been down, putting pressure on the crucial supply line of petroleum to the east coast of the US. The 8,850km pipeline is the largest refined products pipeline in the US, and has already had 5 spills reported in Alabama in 2016, according to PHMSA data.