CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A pipeline explosion that sent a plume of fire into the air in Sissonville in late 2012 was likely the result of corrosion and no inspection of the pipeline in nearly 25 years, according to a federal report released today.
"Remarkably, no lives were lost in this accident but the potential for tragedy was clearly there," stated NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman in a news release.
"Inspection and testing improve the chances of locating defects early, and reduce the probability of a catastrophic failure which can have devastating results."
In December of 2012 a natural gas pipeline owned by Columbia Gas Transmission Corporation broke near I-77 in the Sissonville area. The pipeline rupture sent a ball of fire more than 100 feet into the air, melting highway signs and destroying three houses.
The NTSB determined corrosion on the outside of the 20-inch diameter pipe wall, caused by deteriorating coating and "ineffective cathodic protection" led to the break in the pipe. No one had discovered the poor condition of the pipeline because it hadn't been inspected after 1988, according to the NTSB
As a result of this accident investigation, the NTSB issued three safety recommendations to the Columbia Gas Transmission Corporation and one to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, according to the news release.This is a developing story. Check back in at www.dailymailwv.com throughout the day as more information becomes available. From the news release issued today by the NTSB:The 2012 rupture of a Columbia Gas Transmission Corporation natural gas pipeline in West Virginia was caused by external corrosion that could have been discovered by the pipeline operator, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a report released today.On December 11, 2012, a 20-inch high-pressure natural gas pipeline running through Sissonville, W.V., ruptured with so much force that a 20-foot-long segment of pipe was thrown more than 40 feet from where it had been buried. The released natural gas ignited and burned so hot that it heavily damaged the asphalt road surface on an interstate highway, destroyed three homes, and melted the siding on houses hundreds of feet from the rupture site.