The same pipeline that experienced a gasoline leak in early September and caused a gasoline shortage throughout the Southeast exploded in western Shelby County, Alabama on Monday and has been shut down.
The explosion occurred after a worker struck the pipeline with a track hoe, which caused gasoline to ignite and explode around 3:00pm Monday, sending thick, black smoke high into the air over the rural land. One worker was killed, and several workers were injured.
The effects of the explosion were not immediately clear, although two wildfires caused by the explosion have burned at least 31 acres of land and forced individuals living nearby out of their homes. According to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, the fire has been contained but remains burning.
“Our deepest condolences go out tonight to the family and friends of the person who was lost today, and our thoughts and prayers are with those who were injured,” pipeline owner Colonial Pipeline said in a released statement Monday.
Colonial Pipeline also said in a brief statement following the incident that health and safety of its work crews and the public are its top priorities.