Explosion prompts concern for Pelham residents near pipeline

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PELHAM, Ala. (WIAT) —  Across most of the state the Colonial gas pipeline is buried in rural areas, but it does pass through several neighborhoods and in some cases right through residents’ back yards.

Sara Jorgensen said after the pipeline leak in September, she started noticing the Colonial Pipeline workers in Pelham. She hasn’t lived in Pelham long, but first noticed the pipeline workers on Highway 31 down the road from her neighborhood near a sign that marked the buried pipeline.

“I noticed that that’s the same sign that’s right down the street from me — a couple of streets over — and I thought ‘Gee whiz that thing’s a lot closer than I thought it was,’ so yeah, it became more of a concern,” said Jorgensen.

Some residents said the pipeline is not something they worry about all the time. Others said they’re considering moving out because they’re worried something could happen.

Holly Thornton said she was excited when she bought her house that the lot next door would always remain vacant — that’s where the pipeline is buried — but after the explosion she started to wonder if the same thing could happen close to her home.

“I have some friends that live in Helena so I was sending out messages, checking on everyone. I didn’t really know how far up the road it was, but I knew it was close — a little too close. And then knowing that it’s another gas line right beside my house, it’s really too close,” said Thornton.

She said she doesn’t have any plans to move, but she said if she sees Colonial Pipeline working on the line near her home, she is planning to spend a few days away until the work is complete.

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The path of gas pipelines across Alabama can be viewed at the National Pipeline Map System website.

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