Midland Pipeline Explosion Injures 6, Kills 1—Cause May Be Revealed

Roughly three weeks ago, a pipeline explosion in Midland led to the death of one worker and injured six others, including two firefighters. “It was just a huge ball of fire. A huge ball of fire from looked like a mile or two away,” witness and local resident Amber Studie said.

Initially, five of the workers injured in the initial explosion were airlifted to a burn unit in Lubbock for treatment. Three of them were still being treated in the burn unit in serious condition days after the explosion, but one of them succumbed to his burn injuries on August 3. He was a San Angelo resident who was an employee of Navitas Midstream and a 30-year industry veteran.

Both of the injured firefighters and one of the pipeline workers have been treated and released.

What Happened the Morning of the Explosion

A fire ignited at the intersection of two natural gas pipelines and triggered an initial explosion that injured 5 workers. The Midland Fire Department received a call about an explosion at around 11:30 am and mobilized to suppress the fire. The initial explosion triggered at least two other explosions an hour after firefighters arrived on the scene. The explosions took place near FM 1379 and State Highway 158.

The Midland pipeline explosion occurred at the intersection of two lines: one was owned by El Paso Natural Gas (EPNG) and operated by Kinder Morgan, and the other was operated by Navitas Midstream.

"There was a third-party pipeline involved that also experienced a failure, and preliminary indications are that the third-party line failure occurred before the EPNG line failure," Kinder Morgan spokeswoman Sara Hughes said in an email. 

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