7 workers injured in Alabama gas line explosion

Gas pipeline explosion
(Photo: Alabaster Fire and Rescue)
Fire spreads after gas line explosion
(Photo: Alabama EMA)

SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — Seven victims of a petroleum gas line explosion have been transported to UAB hospital. A massive plume of smoke filled the skyline after a Colonial Pipeline exploded near Helena out by Highway 13.

Four victims were airlifted to UAB, and other victims with less critical injuries were taken to Shelby Baptist by ambulance.

Fire and law enforcement responded to the scene of the explosion. At the time of the explosion, Colonial Pipeline crews were working on the line. According to L.E. Bell Construction Co based in Heflin, they had workers at the Colonial Pipeline. They aren’t releasing the number of workers they had out there this afternoon.

Alagasco initially told us the fire is from a petroleum line. At this time, the state is not sure if the explosion occurred on natural gas or petroleum, according to Gov. Robert Bentley. A three-mile radius around the blaze has been evacuated, according to Art Faulkner, the state’s EMA director.

Colonial Pipeline closed the line feeding petroleum into the fire around 4 p.m., so what is still burning is residual and will continue to burn until all the fuel is gone.

Crews with the Alabama Forestry Commission have contained the fires that resulted from the pipeline explosion. They burned a total of 31 acres. 3 bulldozers from the AFC are on the scene, and one from Shelby County is there.

Firefighters are on the scene working to build a seven to eight foot dirt dam to contain the burning fuel until it burns out. They don’t know how long that will take or how long they will be out there.

Helena police clarified the explosion was in the Shelby County Jurisdiction, and that no Helena residents are in danger.

The explosion took place near 334 Highway 13. At this time, a response team has been called in from Jefferson County as well as a tanker from the McAdory Fire Department.

McAdory Fire. Vestavia Hills Fire Department, Shelby County’s Sheriff’s Department, Birmingham Fire, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Montevallo Fire all responded to the scene, as did the EMA and ADEM.

Originally published by our Media General sister station in Birmingham, Ala., WIAT-TV