HELENA, Ala. (AP) – At least seven workers were injured Monday when an explosion occurred on Colonial Pipeline in rural Alabama near where it burst last month, authorities said.
The explosion sent flames soaring over the forest about a mile west of where the gas pipeline burst in September, Gov. Robert Bentley said in a statement. That rupture led to gasoline shortages across the South.
Video from area media shows a huge plume of flame and smoke rising in a wooded area in Shelby County southwest of Birmingham.
The seven injured workers were taken to Birmingham hospitals by helicopter and ambulance, Bentley told WBRC-TV in a live interview Monday evening.
“It appears to have been an accident, and they’re allowing fuel to burn,” Bentley said. “It’s about one mile west of where the repair took place on the Colonial Pipeline just recently.”
Messages left with Colonial Pipeline’s Alpharetta, Georgia, headquarters were not immediately returned.
Bentley said his office is receiving updates from state and local authorities.
“Pray for workers, rescue personnel,” Bentley said in a statement.
Several fire departments were sending crews to assist. Helena police say they’re assisting Shelby County authorities with the blaze.
The explosion happened in a remote area outside the town of Helena, away from residential areas, Helena Mayor Mark told WBRC-TV.
In September, the Colonial Pipeline leaked thousands of gallons of gas southwest of Birmingham near Helena and led to dry fuel pumps in several Southern states – for days, in some cases. There was no immediate indication Thursday whether or not Monday’s explosion will lead to similar shortages.