Tuesday 13 August 2013

Fuel pipeline explodes in western Illinois.

A fuel pipeline has exploded in western Illinois, creating a fireball that rose around 75 m into the air. The explosion took place at around 11.15 pm on Monday 12 August 2013 local time (4.15 am on Tuesday 13 August, GMT), close to the village of Eirie in Whiteside County, when a pipeline carrying a highly volatile mixture of ethane and propane ignited, for reasons which have yet to be determined. The pipeline was operated by Texan company Enterprise Products Partners, who were able to turn of the supply of the fuel remotely, though residents were evacuated from the surrounding area as a precaution.

Fireball resulting from the 12 August Eirie pipeline explosion. KWQC-TV.

The pipeline carried fuel from Iowa City, Iowa, to a petrochemical plant in Morris Illinois. Due to the volatile nature and clean combustion of the chemicals involved, both of which burn very readily and combust to water and carbon dioxide without byproducts, there is unlikely to be any enduring pollution problem at the site, though the explosion left a hole 6 m by 12 m and 5 m deep. The cause of the explosion will be investigated by the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

The approximate location of the 12 August Eirie pipeline explosion. Google Maps.

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