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Pipeline explosion in Northland draws federal investigator

Kansas City firefighters were among those who responded Tuesday to a pipeline explosion in Platte County. No injuries were reported.
Kansas City firefighters were among those who responded Tuesday to a pipeline explosion in Platte County. No injuries were reported.

A federal pipeline safety investigator has visited the site of Tuesday’s fiery pipeline explosion in Platte County as part of an inquiry into its cause and to determine whether any safety violations occurred.

“We’ve had an investigator at the site of the pipeline rupture,” said Darius Kirkwood, spokesman for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

Kirkwood said the investigator would be focused on the cause of the rupture and explosion as well as watchful for potential violations of safety regulations that the agency develops and enforces.

The agency is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation and dispatched an inspector from the agency’s office in Kansas City.

The explosion Tuesday north of Kansas City International Airport caused no injuries, and the fire had burned out by 8 p.m., said Rick Rainey, a spokesman for Houston-based Enterprise Products Partners L.P., the pipeline owner.

Rainey said an investigation would include tests on the metal and other steps set by the protocol surrounding a pipeline incident. He said the company is working with the federal agency’s investigation and also has moved resources to the site to begin repairs.

“As the company transitions from the emergency response phase, personnel are developing a repair plan and are coordinating with the appropriate regulatory agencies on the restart of the pipeline,” a statement from the company said.

The 10-inch pipeline carries natural gas liquids, a mixture of propane and ethane, under pressure from near Conway, Kan., which is a hub for natural gas liquids, toward a storage cavern near Iowa City, Iowa. Natural gas liquids are being rerouted through other pipelines to industrial customers, Rainey said.

Enterprise Products has had pipeline and other incidents in the past, and KSHB-TV has reported that two people had died in separate incidents in Texas.

Tuesday’s explosion happened near the 9500 block of Mellon Bridge Road. No evacuations were ordered.

Mark Davis: 816-234-4372, @mdkcstar

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