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Gas plant explosion injures five

17 August 2011

There are reports of an explosion that has injured five people at a plant in north-eastern Illinois. The explosion at the Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America plant near Herscher occurred on Tuesday morning during routine maintenance and isn’t thought to be due to a gas leak. All five people are in hospital.

Joe Hollier, a spokesman for Kinder Morgan, the company that operates the natural gas pipeline south of Herscher, has said that the flash fire and explosion occurred while the employees were working in the building at station 201.

All five who were injured work as operations specialists and welders. They were apparently working together on a welding job inside the building at the time of the flash fire and explosion.

Hollier stated that the company is trying to notify the employees’ family members, and the names of the injured workers will not be released until everyone has been reached.

Judy Pretto, Marketing and Public Relations Manager for Riverside Medical Center, said that the hospital received three patients from the explosion. Two were admitted with minor injuries. The other was airlifted to Loyola University Hospital with critical injuries and has been transferred to a burns unit there.

Melissa Tanner, a spokeswoman for Provena St. Mary’s Hospital in Kankakee, added that they received two patients injured in the explosion, and both were in a stable condition.

No other employees are believed to have been working in or around the building at the time of the explosion.

The gas plant sits on 80 acres and uses an underground gas dome as a reservoir for approximately 120 billion cubic feet of gas stored at depths of 1,900 to 2,400 feet. Above ground, a system of wells and piping cover approximately six square miles.


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