Pipeline at Pasadena plant explodes

September 24, 2008 9:49:06 AM PDT
Fire crews spent several hours fighting a petroleum fire that neighbors watched from miles away.The fire started in a manifold pit at the Kinder Morgan Terminal on North Witter Road about 11pm Tuesday. The fire was tapped out around 9:30am.

The manifold pit is where multiple lines run, which feed petroleum products to various companies across the nation.

There was some concern that the fire would spread to nearby tankers that contained gasoline. A crew watered down those tankers as fire crews worked to get control of the massive fire.

Two employees were taken to the hospital. One was transported by a medical helicopter. He sustained multiple burns. The second employee was taken by ambulance. He is being treated for heat exhaustion.

"Our greatest concern right now is for the injured individual and our thoughts and prayers go out to him and we hope that he is OK," said Joe Hollier with Kinder Morgan. "Beyond that, we want to make sure that everyone is safe and we keep it contained."

At least 23 employees were on duty at the time of the explosion and company officials say they have been accounted for.

Company officials say they will see if shutting down the facility before Hurricane Ike had anything to do with the fire.

All employees are expected to report to duty this morning.

The Kinder Morgan Terminal covers about 174 acres in Pasadena. According to the company website, it has 117 storage tanks capable of holding more than 15 million barrels of petroleum product. The plant was only 95 percent operational at the time.

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