Pipeline Blast Send Flames 100 Feet Into The Sky

Thursday, October 18th 2007, 8:15 am
By: News On 6

PORT ARTHUR, Texas (AP) _ A pipeline blast sent flames about 100 feet into the pre-dawn sky Thursday, waking residents but causing no injuries.

The blast happened about 2 a.m. just off U.S. 69, about 90 miles east of Houston. The fire continued to burn Thursday morning, and Port Arthur fire officials said it could take several hours for the blaze to burn out.

Witnesses said the heat of the flames ignited nearby trees, but no injuries or other secondary damage were reported. Nearby residents were urged to stay indoors and turn off outside ventilation.

Port Arthur police said the pipeline is owned by Union Carbide and Dow Chemical. The Beaumont Enterprise reported that the pipeline carries ethylene.

The companies closed the flow through the pipeline at about 4 a.m. and began working to stop the remaining leak, police said.

Port Arthur Fire Chief Larry Richards says the fire diminished after the pipeline owners shut it off, but the residual chemical still had to burn off.