Alabama Governor declares ‘State of Emergency’ after deadly pipeline explosion

By: WTVC & AP, Source: News Channel 9, ABC, Originally Published: November 1, 2016

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley declared a State of Emergency Tuesday afternoon following Monday’s deadly Colonial Pipeline explosion.

Bentley’s website says “The State of Emergency will facilitate the granting of a waiver from the U.S. Department of Transportation – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. This waiver is needed to lift the federal government’s limitation on the hours a driver can transport gasoline. The State of Emergency is effective November 1, 2016 through December 1, 2016 unless sooner terminated.”

A Colonial Pipeline contractor struck a 36” below ground transmission gasoline pipeline while unearthing threaded O-rings (TOR) for rendering the line inert. This operation was necessary to install a permanent repair required by the previous pipeline rupture on September 9, 2016.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the six injured workers and with the family of the fatally injured worker,” Governor Bentley said. “An accident of this magnitude is tough for any community to deal with, and I want to personally thank the local first responders for their immediate assistance to this accident, as well as the first responders from surrounding counties. They all provided resources and support to the help Shelby County in their time of need.”

On Tuesday, the fire from the explosion is still burning.

From 3,000 feet in the air, a flame can be seen still burning in a haze of smoke a day after a pipeline explosion left a charred scene in an Alabama forest.

An AP photographer flew over the site Tuesday morning and saw the flame, the smoke and trucks parked near the Colonial pipeline that were covered in gray ash.

Meanwhile Colonial Pipeline says it has restarted one of its two main pipelines after an explosion in Alabama, but anticipates that its main gasoline line will remain down the rest of this week.

The Georgia-based company said in a statement Tuesday that it restarted its Line 2, which transports diesel, jet fuel and other products, around 11 a.m. Central Time Tuesday.

A Colonial Pipeline leak last month led to gas shortages and rising prices across the South.

After the September leak, Colonial said it made up some of the gasoline shortfall by sending gas through the line that usually carries diesel and jet fuel. The company has not said whether it intends to do so again.

This is a developing story. Depend on News Channel 9 to keep you posted.