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Pipeline blast leaves crater near Gruver
By RICKY GEORGE Globe-News Staff Writer
GRUVER - A natural gas pipeline ruptured Thursday about 18 miles northwest of Gruver, but no injuries were reported.
Gruver Volunteer Fire Department Chief Sam Gruver said a 24-inch pipeline under about 200 pounds of pressure burst around 10:30 a.m., sparking a fire. The explosion dug a crater that Gruver estimated to be about 20 feet across and 20 feet deep. The pipeline belongs to Duke Energy, which recently bought GPM Gas Corp., Gruver said.
"It was out in the middle of nowhere," he said.
The resulting fire burned up three or four power poles, as well as some fencing, grass and milo. A meter house belonging to another company also was damaged by the fire.
The pipeline was at the edge of Farm-to-Market Road 2349, Gruver said. The fire and heat damaged the roadway, forcing the road to be closed.
Volunteer departments from Gruver, Stratford and Spearman fought the blaze.
Duke Energy personnel cut off the gas to about 10 miles of pipeline, Gruver said. The fire from the pipeline was still going at 5 p.m., but Gruver said he expected the fire to burn itself out soon.
The cause of the fire was unknown late Thursday but was being examined by a Duke Energy investigator, Gruver said.
Duke Energy officials could not be reached for comment late Thursday.
A natural gas pipeline explosion in Carlsbad, N.M., on Aug. 19 claimed the lives of 12 people camped nearby, according to Associated Press reports. The pipeline, owned by El Paso Energy Co., parent of El Paso Natural Gas Co., blew up along the Pecos River 25 miles south of Carlsbad, sending a 350-foot-high fireball into the sky and billows of flame into the campsite.
-- Kaboom (email@example.com), September 08, 2000
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Friday, September 8, 2000 Go to: S M T W T F S
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Sunoco explosion injures 4 employees
A gasoline-like substance leaked at the Passyunk Ave. refinery, police said. A city firefighter was also treated.
By Thomas J. Gibbons Jr. INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Four Sunoco refinery employees were injured yesterday in an explosion and fire at the company's Point Breeze facility on Passyunk Avenue.
In addition, a city firefighter was treated for eye irritation suffered while battling the blaze, officials said.
The explosion occurred about 7:50 a.m. Sixteen pieces of city fire equipment were brought to the South Philadelphia scene to help out Sunoco firefighters, authorities said.
According to a police report, the explosion occurred when a flammable vapor cloud of a raw gasoline-like substance leaked into the atmosphere from a unit used to distill crude oil. The vapor ignited. The heavy fire was quickly contained when supply valves were shut off to the affected site, and the remaining fuel burned off.
The emergency was under control at 8:55 a.m. The blaze was completely extinguished by 11:10 a.m., a Sunoco spokesman said.
The most seriously injured worker was identified by police as Louis Marcelis, 38, an acting foreman, of the 3100 block of St. Vincent Street in Mayfair. He was rushed to St. Agnes Medical Center's burn unit, where he was reported yesterday afternoon in critical but stable condition with third-degree burns over 40 percent of his body.
The names of the other three workers were not released. One was treated at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where he was stabilized and then transferred to Wills Eye Hospital for evaluation, a hospital spokeswoman said.
The other two workers were treated at the refinery by the facility's medical director. The firefighter was treated at Hahnemann University Hospital.
On Aug. 31, there was an explosion and fire at Sunoco's refinery in Lower Chichester, Delaware County, that produced a yellow, dusty cloud that billowed into a neighborhood and sent at least six people to the hospital with minor breathing problems and headaches.
Sunoco officials said they had experienced a power outage in the fluid catalytic cracking unit minutes earlier.
On June 30, a pipe carrying gasoline exploded at the scene of yesterday's accident. The ensuing fire caused extensive traffic backups on the Schuylkill Expressway and the George C. Platt Bridge. One worker suffered a minor knee injury and was treated at the scene.
Nine days earlier, a malfunction at the same refinery caused the release of a nonhazardous dust that coated cars in nearby neighborhoods.
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 08, 2000.
Published Tuesday, September 12, 2000, in the Akron Beacon Journal. Refinery leak rains on city
Ohio EPA investigates cause of smelly spill at Marathon Ashland
BY KYMBERLI HAGELBERG Beacon Journal staff writer
CANTON: Pat and Dale Jett have spent the last four years turning their modest bungalow in the industrial section of southwest Canton into a landscaped hideaway.
A painted stockade fence shields the pale green house and its small, square lot from the noise and smoke of nearby Southway Street traffic. Inside the border, a rock garden and reflecting pond frame the front door. Along the side and back of the house are raised platforms for a patio and hot tub. A screened cabana separates the deck area from an above-ground pool.
From May to November, the Jetts' urban oasis is covered with a verdant carpet of red and purple morning glories.
Since Sunday, most of the house, pool, garden and patio also have been covered with a coating of thick, smelly film.
Partially refined oil from nearby Marathon Ashland Petroleum burst from a 1.7 million-gallon storage tank at the company refinery at 2408 Gambrinus Ave. S.W. in Canton Township about 9:45 a.m. The pressurized vapor drifted on the wind, then settled on the Jetts home and others on the outskirts of Canton, some houses as far as 3 miles from the plant.
Pat Jett first noticed a foul odor as she was baking chocolate chip cookies after breakfast.
``I had all the windows open and I kept smelling something that didn't smell like cookies, and it was getting stronger and stronger,'' she said. ``When I came out to see what it could be, it was horrible.
``Everything that was out here really got it, including my dog. The grass and sidewalk were so slippery I almost fell, and it was all over my skin. I felt clammy and everything smelled,'' she said.
Neighbors on Quinby, Wertz and Maryland avenues, including Shirley and Jack Drake, Pat Jett's parents, also awoke to find their homes and belongings misted with a substance that looked and felt like motor oil.
``My wife was worried about the paint job on the cars, so she washed them off yesterday and we hosed down the deck,'' said Jack Drake, who uses a portable oxygen tank. ``Yesterday it got where I couldn't breathe so good.''
Two people were hospitalized briefly Sunday at Aultman Hospital after being exposed to the vapors -- a girl for nausea and a woman for a skin irritation. No additional injuries were reported yesterday.
Authorities said the oil that escaped the refinery storage tank is considered to be a mild irritant of ``moderate to low toxicity.''
Canton Health Commissioner Robert E. Pattison said he received three or four calls on health issues. Complaints included irritation in the eyes, nose, mouth or skin, possibly caused by allergic reactions. In all cases, the patients were treated and released.
``We haven't seen any major health effects from it and don't expect to,'' Pattison said.
Cats, dogs or other animals that might have licked a coating of the vapor from their fur also are unlikely to suffer any problems.
``I think the secret is to get the material washed off as soon as possible, using soap and water,'' Pattison said. ``(Dishwashing) detergent that cuts grease is very effective.''
Dennis Weilnau, Ohio State University extension agent for agriculture and natural resources at the Stark-Summit Extension office, said gardeners and fruit-tree growers needn't worry.
Rain that fell on Canton later Sunday helped wash the oil from vegetables, fruit and leaves, he said. ``Gravity works in that case, too.''
Dr. Winston Bash, director of the Food Industries Center at Ohio State University, also said the oily substance should not stop gardeners from eating their fruits or vegetables, as long as food is washed in mild detergent, lukewarm water and dried well.
Investigators from the Ohio EPA arrived at the refinery yesterday and will remain today to study potential air and water problems.
The spill likely was caused by ``oil traveling through the pipe at a very high temperature,'' Ohio EPA spokeswomen Heidi Griesmer said yesterday. The amount released and specific cause of the leak were still being determined.
``What we have are really ballpark figures. Anywhere from 400,000 to 800,000 gallons got out of the original pipe. But it's not clear how much of that went into the air and how much went into a containment area,'' she said.
The vapor cloud fell to earth in a diagonal path stretching northeast from the refinery to homes on the southwest edge of Canton.
Ralph and Pat Skinner -- who have spent the last 25 years on Maryland Avenue in the shadow of the Marathon Ashland plant -- were among the first to have their home doused.
Ralph Skinner heard what he thought was an early morning cloudburst.
``The I looked up into the sky and saw this great big brown cloud,'' he said.
When Pat Skinner went outside to investigate, she found the ``brown rain'' had left behind a slimy skin on her red petunias and striped hostas, and had spotted her son's orange truck and the north-side windows and aluminum siding of the family's blue, two-story frame house.
Fire in the smokestacks at the refinery occasionally has ``rocked the house,'' Ralph Skinner said. The Skinners also once evacuated their home briefly when a stack fire could not be extinguished. Several years ago, a thick coat of white ash dusted several homes near the plant, they said.
``I knew something was happening because the alarm stayed on for about 25 minutes,'' Pat Skinner said. ``Usually, it just goes on and off. But we're not afraid. I was a little leery to be living here at first, but not anymore.''
Three or four insurance adjusters today are expected to contact neighbors who have reported property damage to Marathon Ashland's toll-free line.
``It will probably be weeks before we can get'' a complete estimate on damages, said Pat Anderson, human resources manager at the plant.
People who have property affected by the vapor release should call 800-892-3418, not the refinery's main switchboard, so their claims can be dealt with more quickly, Anderson said.
The line is not staffed between midnight and 7 a.m., but will remain in operation as long as calls continue.
Staff writers Barbara Galloway and Jim Mackinnon contributed to this report.
Kymberli Hagelberg can be reached at 330-478-6000 (Ext. 14) or 1-800-478-5445 or email@example.com
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 12, 2000.