Unusual conditions at fault in pipeline explosionEnbridge Energy says a series of unusual conditions caused a pipeline leak and fire at a repair site in northwestern Minnesota last November that resulted in two deaths.
By: By MIKE SIMONSON / Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Radio
The first report from the Enbridge pipeline explosion that killed two Superior men is complete.
Enbridge Energy says a series of unusual conditions caused a pipeline leak and fire at a repair site in northwestern Minnesota last November.
Enbridge says their report doesn’t find fault with workers or anyone, just a situation “outside the experience of the crews” caused the Nov. 28 tragedy.
Enbridge spokeswoman Denise Enbridge said they were repairing a stretch of pipeline near Clearbrook, Minn., replacing it with an 11 foot stretch of pipe.
“There was more exposed pipe than normal,” she said. “The pipeline was not fully anchored. The couplings released and sprayed oil and then a heater that had been on the side of the trench preparing to warm the area for the welders who came in after the couplings are put in place to weld it, that heater ignited the crude oil.”
The crude that sprayed the heater was a mist, which made it flammable. Hamsher says several workers were on scene.
“The two employees of Enbridge were not able to flee the site so David Mussati Jr. and Steve Arnovich unfortunately succumbed,” she said.
This report has been sent to the U-S Pipeline Safety office, which is conducting its own investigation. Families and friends of the victims have also been told of the report.
The November tragedy is the worst for Enbridge since 1949.
Wisconsin Public Radio was not able to get comment from the federal Office of Pipeline Safety.