Several workers were injured Monday in an explosion on the Colonial Pipeline in Shelby County, Alabama, officials say. The blast on the major pipeline sent flames and smoke shooting into the air.
At least seven people were severely burned in the explosion, Al.com reports.
Firefighters from several departments in the Birmingham area responded to the fire, which had spread across about 10 acres of forest, the news website reports. The explosion occurred about 3 p.m. as eight or nine subcontractors worked on the pipeline, which has been shut down in the area as a result of the blast.
Lieutenant Russell Bedsole told the Wall Street Journal the workers were doing maintenance on the pipeline, which moves gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from Texas to the Atlantic Coast, when the explosion occurred.
“This appears to be an accident,” Bedsole told the newspaper. “There is no suspicion of terrorist activity.”
The incident is the second accident on the Colonial Pipeline in recent weeks. A leak last month caused a shortage of gasoline, resulting in higher gas prices in the Southeast, according to the Wall Street Journal. A new section of pipe was installed to bypass the leak.
Several videos, which you can watch below, show the aftermath of the explosion:
Many bystanders and media outlets also posted photos from the scene:
The Colonial Pipeline Co. issued a statement on its website after the explosion.
“Colonial has shut down its mainlines in Shelby County, Ala., after reports of a fire on its right of way. Colonial personnel and emergency crews are responding,” the Georgia-based company said. “Colonial’s top priorities are the health and safety of the work crew on site and protection of the public.”
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley tweeted about the blast:
The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office said the situation was “contained” by 7:30 p.m.
“Emergency personnel will remain on scene monitoring the area of the explosion. Please avoid the area to continue to allow emergency crews easy access to the site of the explosion,” the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post. “We will provide updates as they are available. We wish to thank all the first responders who so quickly responded and put themselves in harms way for the citizens they serve.”
In an earlier message, the sheriff’s office said, “The roadways in the area need to remain closed to all but local traffic to allow emergency personnel easy access. Motorists should find alternate routes until further notice.”
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