Families urged to learn pipeline locations

Natural gas blast

Credit: WFAA

The natural gas line exploded in a fireball that could be seen for miles around.

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by CHRIS HAWES

WFAA

Posted on June 8, 2010 at 10:33 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 9 at 12:28 AM

For at least one viewer of Tuesday's natural gas pipeline inferno in Johnson County, the video brought back awful memories.

Carl Weimer is the executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust. The trust was created after three children died in a Washington state pipeline accident in 1999.

As Weimer watched coverage of the Cleburne-area accident, he said, "If that had happened somewhere in the Fort Worth urban area, it would have been a much bigger tragedy than it was."

Weimer is working on a report for the Fort Worth League of Neighborhoods about the state of pipelines in Fort Worth, and what should be done.

Already, natural gas gathering and transmission lines criss-cross the city. The law requires anyone doing excavation work to call a single toll-free hotline so the pipeline's owner can physically mark where it is.

Carl Gunther is the NTSB investigator handling Monday's accident.

"The 811 system and the one-call system have worked pretty well," said Carl Gunther, the NTSB investigator handling the fatal blast in Johnson County.  "This obviously is a case where it didn't work as well as it should have."

Weimer recommends educating yourself about pipelines that might be in your neighborhood.

The Railroad Commission provides an interactive map that can give you an approximate idea of where pipelines in your neighborhood are located, and who owns them.

Use the drop-down box to select your county; then use the other tools to zoom in to your specific area of interest.

The state stresses, however, that these online maps not always accurate.

E-mail chawes@wfaa.com

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