Fossil Fuels

Published on August 21st, 2013 | by Jo Borrás


Video: Natural Gas Pipeline Explosion in Illinois

August 21st, 2013 by  

Last week was pretty eventful for anyone flying over Pawnee, IL — especially around 11PM Monday night, when a pipeline carrying natural gas exploded in an Illinois cornfield sending a fireball more than 300 feet in the air that air traffic could see more than 160 miles away. Also, how neat is it that Pawnee is a real place? Here’s the full article, originally posted to Gas 2, below.


We talk about alternative fuels a lot here at Gas 2 (it’s kind of our thing), but with all the talk surrounding the dangers of fracking (earthquakes, poisoned dirt, and polluted groundwater, among them) we often forget that natural gas is seriously, Seriously volatile. Unfortunately, some 80 families and several acres of cornfield got a harsh reminder of natural gas’ more immediate dangers last night in the Western Illinois town of Erie, where residents heard a massive blast and saw flames rising more than 300 feet into the air.

The gas-fueled fireball was visible for more than 20 miles, and videographers over 3 miles from the cordoned-off area said “you can hear the roar of the pressure at this time.”

Despite the magnitude of the natural gas explosion and the damage done to roughly a square mile of cornfields (approx. 600 acres) and air-traffic reports that the fire was visible from the air more than 160 miles away in Pawnee. Still, there was no (reported) loss of life, and all but 2 of the families evacuated from the area are expected to be back home tonight. Yay!!

The gas pipeline that exploded last night is (was?) owned by Enterprise Products Partners, a Houston-based energy company that operates nearly 50,000 miles of natural gas, oil, and petrochemical pipeline throughout the country. Despite being one of the many oil and gas companies lobbying for more lax government regulation, a quick search shows that, in August of 2011, an EPP pipeline carrying leaked an unknown amount of the volatile liquid into the Missouri River in Iowa. So, yeah. There’s that.

You can watch the video and listen to the photographer’s police/emergency response scanner, below. While you’re doing so, try to remember that corn and sugar fields, windmills, and solar panels tend NOT to explode like this. Just sayin’.

Source: Climate Progress

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About the Author

I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the Important Media network. You can find me on Twitter, Skype (jo.borras) or Google+.

  • Ruthie3

    Great! They’ve just planted 20″ pipe throughout my neighborhood. I know we’re all gonna go sometime, had rather the Good Lord choose instead of PNG.

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