Officials on the scene say eight to nine Colonial Pipeline subcontractors were working on the gas pipeline trying to flush out one of the lines when it exploded, Shelby County Sheriff Maj. Ken Burchfield confirmed. AL.com reports Colonial has now shut down both pipelines running through the area.
“The fire will not be out anytime soon,” Burchfield added. According to WIAT, several cleanup units are on the scene. Birmingham fire is providing foam. At least seven people were injured in the explosion and some are believed to be severely burned. A UAB Hospital spokesman confirmed three patients were flown to UAB in the afternoon, three more were coming by ambulance and one more was coming by air, according to our news partner AL.com.
(WHNT) Gov. Robert Bentley said the explosion happened about a mile west of the spot where the pipeline burst last month. That rupture led to gasoline shortages across the South.
In addition to the injured victims, Shelby County Sheriff John Samaniego said there’s a possibility that two workers are still missing. The heat from the blaze, he said, is hindering the search for them. Flames are still reaching about 50 feet in the air.