Gov Bentley: Fire from explosion will burn until fuel runs out; 3 mile radius evacuated

Still image captured from streamed footage of the Shelby County Colonial pipeline explosion by CBS42 meteorologist Nate Harrington from a helicopter.
Still image captured from streamed footage of the Shelby County Colonial pipeline explosion by CBS42 meteorologist Nate Harrington from a helicopter.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama Gover. Robert Bentley took the time to talk to CBS42 after a Colonial Pipeline explosion outside of Helena in Shelby County.

He tells us he just spoke to the EMA Director Art Faulkner about 20 minutes ago. Bentley says seven people in a nine person crew were injured. Two were life flighted and four or five were taken by ambulance to the hospital with burn injuries.

A three mile radius has been evacuated according to Faulkner, who told Bentley the main fire from the explosion will continue to burn until the fuel runs out. The pipeline was shut down a couple hours ago.

Bentley said officials aren’t sure what type of fuel was involved in the explosion. Alagasco previously told us petroleum, but according to Bentley, they don’t yet know which gas line of the two Colonial Pipelines was the source of the explosion.

There are woods fires that were caused by the explosion. The Alabama Forestry Commision says they are on the scene working to fight those fires, and that they were caused by the debris in the explosion. The state of Alabama is under a burn ban due to extreme drought conditions that have left the area extremely dry and prone to wildfires.

“I remembered last month I was up there with the rupture of the pipeline, about a mile east, I think this fire is about a mile west, and uh, it is in a sparsely populated area, but we have such dry conditions that this could really cause tremendous problems,” Bentley said.

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