Drilling crew caused Texas pipeline explosion, sheriff says

Update: Chevron put out a statement Thursday evening. Excerpts follow.

“Chevron is continuing to depressurize the West Texas LPG pipeline that ruptured and subsequently ignited today at approximately 9:30 AM CST. The fire continues to decrease in size as residual product is flared and burned-off. Chevron continues to monitor the nearby 14-inch LPG pipeline and is in the process of mobilizing resources to remove product from it and depressurize the line.

 Local unified command has established a 1.5 mile evacuation zone at the site, and approximately 700 people in the town of Milford have been asked to evacuate. The local Red Cross has mobilized to assist those impacted in the region. Chevron has also established a toll-free claims hotline for affected residents: (855) 276-1272.”

 MILFORD, Texas (AP) — A drilling crew punctured a gas pipeline in North Texas on Thursday and triggered an explosion that led emergency personnel to evacuate a nearby town, according to the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office.

Officials said the explosion occurred about 9:30 a.m. at a rig near Milford, about 40 miles south of Dallas.

A Chevron crew punctured a 10-inch line, and company spokesman Justin Higgs said the accident involves a liquefied petroleum gas pipeline.

Flames could be seen shooting into the air and some vehicles at the worksite burned. A column of billowing black smoke could be seen from miles away. Sheriff’s spokesman James Saulter said no injuries have been reported. Chevron requested that Milford be evacuated.

Saulter said deputies went door-to-door advising people in the town of about 700 to leave. Milford school Superintendent Don Clingenpeel said all students and staff were evacuated to the nearby town of Italy.

“The biggest concern right now is the pipelines that are around to make sure there’s not going to be additional explosions,” Saulter said.

He said Chevron has indicated it could take 24 hours to bring the fire under control and cap the ruptured line. He said it’s not clear how long the evacuation will last.

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