Pipeline 'pig' crashes through Grand Prairie home

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by BRETT SHIPP

WFAA

Posted on October 20, 2010 at 10:48 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 21 at 9:17 PM

NEWS 8 INVESTIGATES

GRAND PRAIRIE — Those worried about the growing number of gas pipelines in North Texas may have new justification for their concerns.

This time, it's not a leak or an explosion, but a pipeline testing device that was launched into the air like a missile.

Some say the end result could have been just as deadly.

To Grand Prairie residents living near a pipeline construction project at Arkansas Lane and Highway 161, the equipment and activities had been little more than a eyesore.

Until last Friday, that is, when a device called a "pig" — being used to pressure test a pipeline under construction — was launched like a missile out of the end of a pipe, straight toward a house 500 feet away.

As the photographs provided to News 8 showed, it was a direct hit — right into Robert Heredia's bedroom.

"It looked like a war zone in here when it hit, it was really bad," Heredia said.

He and his wife were not at home at the time, but his daughter Christina was. While she was in another part of the house, he realizes the incident could easily have had tragic consequences.

"If it would have been 20 minutes later, she probably would have been in here getting ready to go to work," Heredia said. "That's what gets me as a dad... you know what could have happened."

The 150 lb. flying object was retrieved by its owners, DFW Midstream. They admit their mistake and have offered to pay for damages to two homes.

"It's an isolated incident that occurred during a standard pipeline test... conducted more than 600 times in the area," said Brett Wiggs, President of DFW Midstream.

"DFW Midstream is committed to learning from this incident and working diligently to ensure the safest construction and operation practices possible," Wiggs added.

Heredia questions the company's sincerity.

"It could have killed somebody," he said. "Still I haven't heard from anybody since Friday, the day it happened."

Heredia feels that by just paying for his damages, the company avoids paying a price for endangering lives.

Even though the accident took place on Friday, the incident was not officially reported to the Texas Railroad Commission until Wednesday after News 8 began inquiring about what happened.

Reportable incidents are supposed to be brought to the attention of Railroad Commission investigators within two hours.

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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