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Gas Explosions in Pennsylvania, Ohio, & Texas

February 12, 2011

View of the explosion aftermath near 13th and Allen Streets in Allentown from Towers East balcony. (Tracy Jordan, THE MORNING CALL / February 10, 2011)

A deadly natural gas explosion in Allentown Pennsylvania claimed the lives of 5 residents (including a 4-month-old baby and a couple in their 70s) Wednesday night february 9, evacuated 500 people, destroyed 50 buildings, and raised the already heightened fear and worry about the aging pipelines and the energy source itself.

For a local perspective on this tragedy, read this article from Allentown’s Morning Call newspaper.

Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, an advocacy group in Bellingham, Washington says “Transporting natural gas by pipeline is the safest way to move that energy. Still, every nine or 10 days on average someone ends up dead or in the hospital from these pipelines. More needs to be done for safety.”

Demolition of homes damaged in the Allentown gas explosion late Wednesday night begins on Friday morning. (Donna Fisher/The Morning Call / February 11, 2011)

Almost simultaneously, a second natural gas explosion shook residents in Hanoverton Ohio.  Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company spokesman Richard Wheatley said the explosion involved a failed 36-inch, buried transmission line that carries natural gas.

Earlier in the week, an explosion at a natural gas liquid plant outside of Houston Texas occurred and one worker still remains unaccounted for.  An amazing video of the fire was taken.

According to the USA Today article about this event, “the nation has more than 2 million miles of natural gas lines under roads, neighborhoods and farms.  By comparison, the interstate highway system is 47,000 miles.”

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