Man injured in Putnam gas pipeline explosion

Tom Hindman photo A neighbor tending to his cattle said the property belonged to Gary Young and they were clearing land for a new home construction at 1663 Harmon Branch Rd. just off Rocky Step Rd. One man was tranported to the hospital.
Tom Hindman photo Tom Hindman photo A neighbor tending to his cattle said the property belonged to Gary Young and they were clearing land for a new home construction at 1663 Harmon Branch Rd. just off Rocky Step Rd. One man was tranported to the hospital.
Tom Hindman photo A neighbor tending to his cattle said the property belonged to Gary Young and they were clearing land for a new home construction at 1663 Harmon Branch Rd. just off Rocky Step Rd. One man was tranported to the hospital.

WINFIELD — A man is being treated for burns after a ruptured natural gas pipeline burst into flame south of Winfield Monday afternoon.

An excavator driven by an unidentified party struck and ruptured the four-inch plastic pipeline, said Joey Tolley, of Tolley Contracting, LLC. The individual driving the excavator isn’t affiliated with Tolley’s company.

Tolley’s company contracts work from Union Oil and Gas, the company that operates the ruptured line. Primarily, he said, his company responds to breaks and fixes them.

This rupture occurred on the property of Gary D. Young, according to numerous “No Trespassing” signs posted to the fence surrounding the open field where emergency crews contained the ruptured pipe. Workers told Tolley the gas coming out of the pipe made enough noise to necessitate ear protection.

“I didn’t get here ’til well after the incident,” Tolley said. “When (the workers) showed up, gas was blowing ... In the process of shutting it down, it somehow ignited.”

One of Tolley’s workers was caught in the fire and suffered burns. The unidentified man was taken to a burn unit in Cabell County.

“We’ve been in business for 35 years around here and this is the first time this has happened,” said Joe Tolley, the company’s owner and Joey’s father. “And, we didn’t do it.”

The ruptured line fortunately caught fire in a sparsely populated area south of Winfield near the corner of Rocky Step Road and Harmon Branch Road. The Winfield Fire Department and Eleanor Fire Department quelled the fire and contained the rupture.

Tolley said the next step is likely an investigation into the rupture and subsequent blaze.

“I believe they brought in pipeline safety, so I’m sure they’ll do an investigation,” he said.

Contact writer Tyler Bell at 304-348-4850 or tyler.bell@dailymailwv.com or folllow @Tyler_Bell87 on Twitter.

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