According to the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office, a Chevron liquefied petroleum gas pipeline located just north of Milford, Texas exploded this morning, at about 9:30 a.m. The explosion caused an entire drilling rig to become engulfed in flames and sent thick, black smoke so high in the air that it could be seen for a least 40 miles. In addition, several vehicles were destroyed by the fire.
Chevron initiated their emergency response procedures almost immediately after the explosion. As soon as was practical, officials shut down the line and called in firefighters from a number of neighboring cities, although it was relatively quickly determined that the safest course was to allow the fire to burn itself out, then cap the drilling rig. According to Chevron officials, that process could take as much as 24 hours.
Officials also were concerned about the fire and smoke, as well as a second pipeline nearby that could also be in danger of explosion, so the company asked nearby emergency services personnel to evacuated the entire town of Milford, which is located about 50 miles south of Dallas and has a population of about 800. Area officials also evacuated nearly 200 Milford Independent School District students to nearby Italy, Texas, and the district canceled Friday classes.
While no injuries have been reported as yet, the evacuations demonstrate a level of concern that indicates it’s early yet. Besides the prospect of additional explosions, there is the potential that the thick black smoke coming from the fire could result in a number of serious health effects for workers, first responders and nearby residents, especially those with respiratory problems
A thorough investigation will be conducted, and the causes of the explosion and fire will be found. It’s quite possible that the cause was preventable, or that it was caused by defective designs or designs, or even lax maintenance of the pipeline. The Texas Oil and Gas Lawyers at Ramsey Hill will keep following this story, and give you more details as they become available.
In the meantime, if you or someone you love has been injured or killed in an oil and gas explosion, or suffering the ill effects of the chemicals that are released in the wake of such explosions, contact the Texas Oil and Gas Lawyers at Ramsey Hill LLP as soon as possible, so that we can help you protect your rights.