A father and his 14-year-old daughter were killed in an explosion at a farmhouse in the town of Coolidge, Arizona early Sunday morning. The devastating incident was caused by a pipeline rupture.
According to the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO), it began receiving calls from residents in the area at about 5:40 am on Sunday, August 15, reporting a possible explosion. Fire crews were sent to the scene immediately. A woman who was inside the home at the time of the explosion escaped through a window, sustaining severe burns to half of her body. She was airlifted to Maricopa Medical Center, where she began receiving treatment.
Emergency personnel found two bodies inside the home. The Pinal County Medical Examiner identified them as a father and his teenage daughter.
A spokesperson for the National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) said the explosion was caused by the rupture of a 30-inch natural gas pipeline near the property. The fire was extinguished, and that segment of the pipeline was shut down. Three NTSB investigators will be on-site for the next week, assessing the situation in order to create a preliminary report of their findings. A full investigation may take anywhere from 12 to 24 months.
Kinder Morgan Is No Stranger to Pipeline Accidents
The pipeline where this explosion occurred is a part of the El Paso Natural Gas Pipeline, which is operated by Kinder Morgan, one of the largest energy infrastructure companies in North America. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Kinder Morgan operates about 72,000 miles of natural gas pipelines in the United States and moves about 40% of all natural gas consumed by Americans.
As such a large company with an immense infrastructure, Kinder Morgan is no stranger to pipeline explosions and other serious accidents. One report by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration found that Kinder Morgan experienced at least 4 dozen “significant incidents” that resulted in fatalities, injuries, hospitalizations, fires, spills, or explosions from 2003 through 2016—in Texas alone. During that same time period, the company and its subsidiaries incurred more than 110 federal enforcement actions and had more than 400 reported incidents across 24 states.
Companies like Kinder Morgan have an obligation to maintain, inspect, and repair the pipelines they own and operate. When they fail to do so, innocent people pay the ultimate price. Our hearts go out to those affected by this tragedy, and our pipeline explosion attorneys will continue to follow this investigation as it unfolds.