NTSB releases preliminary report on deadly Lincoln County pipeline explosion

Aerial photos show the extent of damage following a deadly Lincoln County explosion. (Matthew...
Aerial photos show the extent of damage following a deadly Lincoln County explosion. (Matthew Wood)(WKYT)
Published: Oct. 8, 2019 at 2:45 PM EDT
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The National Transportation Safety Board has released its preliminary report on a massive pipeline explosion in Lincoln County that killed one and injured five.

The report states the rupture released about 66 million cubic feet of natural gas and ignited, causing the death, injuries and property damage. The natural gas transmission lined is owned and operated by Enbridge.

Five homes were destroyed, 14 other homes were damaged, and 30 acres of land were burned. Some of the burned land included Norfolk Southern railroad tracks.

A 33.2-foot-long section of the pipeline ejected and landed nearly 500 feet southwest of where the rupture occurred.

Enbridge data showed a rate-of-change gas pressure alarm was received at 1:24 a.m., and the Danville compressor station operator reported seeing the fire. The ruptured pipeline was isolated at 2:19 a.m. while the fire became under control at 2:56 a.m. The fire was suppressed at 3:20 a.m.

The pipe that ruptured was placed into service in 1957, had an electric flash-welded seam and was coated with coal tar. The company didn't designate the area where the rupture occurred as a High Consequence Area, and it had performed inspections of the pipeline geometry in 2018 and 2019. Enbridge also performed an in-line inspection in 2011 to evaluate pipeline material properties.

This is the same line that ruptured in November 2003 in Morehead. No one was killed or injured in that accident, and the NTSB didn't investigate that rupture.

The NTSB investigation is ongoing. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a corrective action order to Enbridge which the company must meet before the line can return to full service.

Enbridge Report by WKYT on Scribd