One person dead following pipeline explosion

MIDLAND COUNTY -- 4:01 p.m. Update:
According to Fire Marshal Dale Little, one person is dead following Wednesday's pipeline explosion.

Photo and video courtesy of Marty Baeza.

One person is in critical condition and two other individuals are in severe condition.

No names have been released at this time.

4:00 p.m. Update:
The Texas Railroad Commission (TRC) has identified two pipelines where the initial incident occurred.

TRC says Preliminary information indicates the initial incident occurred near a crossing of two pipelines—a 12-inch interstate El Paso Natural Gas pipeline (a pipeline that crosses state boundaries) operated by Kinder Morgan and a natural gas line operated by Navitas Midstream.

A second pipeline rupture and fire occurred in the area after the initial incident.

No cause has been determined.

TRC also states that they dispatched a pipeline safety inspector to the scene of the pipeline rupture and fire yesterday and remains on scene.

12:55 p.m. Update: New details have been released on Wednesday's pipeline explosions.

Kinder Morgan, the company that operates on of the pipelines, said in a release that an investigating is looking into what caused the 'pipeline failure' with the El Paso Natural Gas (EPNG) line.

The preliminary indications from their investigation state that a third-party pipeline located near their EPNG line failed first.

An unidentified employee with the company was among those taken to Lubbock for treatment following the explosion. Kinder Morgan states that he is in stable condition as of Thursday afternoon.
___

9:55 p.m. Update: According to the Public Information Officer for the City of Midland,, Elana Ladd, the total number of individuals injured in the explosion has risen to seven.

Five have been transported to Lubbock as of this time.

One Midland Fire Department Fire Fighter is among the additional count.

All pipelines at the location site have been shut in.

Fire Department personnel are allowing the remaining gas present to burn off.
___

Seven people are in the hospital after three natural gas pipeline explosions rocked east Midland Wednesday afternoon.

“It was just a huge ball of fire. A huge ball of fire from looked like a mile or two away. Which it was, two miles away,” she said.

Midland resident Amber Studie described the explosion, which she watched from her front door and captured on video.

“I was out on the porch letting my dogs outside and I just heard this loud explosion, but it was more like a rumble,” she said.

And that rumble wasn’t just in the air, it shook the whole house, and the ground outside for around a minute.

“I mean, it was initially scary because. We didn’t know what it was, and the rumble, we felt the rumble. It was obviously loud, we could hear it but we could feel it too,” she said.

Midland Fire Marshall Dale Little said the explosion Studie witnessed was part of three natural gas pipeline explosions in Midland on FM 1379, five miles South of Highway 158.

“They had a leak on the pipeline. Fire department responded to it. Midland Fire Department and Greenwood Fire Department. And while they were down there, they were fighting some grass fires along with it. Apparently something happened to the pipeline. We don’t know what it is yet, because we can’t get in there to look at it. But they had a failure within the pipeline itself and the first one exploded. Then they had two other small explosions, one medium and one small,” he said.

Seven people were taken to the hospital with critical injuries, four with burns. Two firefighters are among the victims of the explosion, one with Greenwood Fire Department, and the other with Midland Fire Department.

The other five victims are employees of the pipeline company, whose name hasn’t been released.

Five of those injured are at a hospital in Lubbock.

As of 10 pm Wednesday evening, officials said all pipelines at the site have been shut in, and Midland Fire Department is allowing the remaining gas to burn off.

FM 1379 has been re-opened, after being closed since the explosions occurred Wednesday afternoon.
___

9:09 p.m. Update: FM 1379 has been re-opened as of now.
___

Update: According to the Midland County Fire Marshal, Dale Little, a total of five people were injured in the explosion that occurred on FM 1379 approximately five miles south of Highway 158.

He says that four pipeline employees and a Greenwood firefighter were all transported to medical facilities.

All four pipeline employees were airlifted to a Lubbock hospital for burns.

The Greenwood firefighter was taken to a Midland hospital.

According to Elana Ladd, Public Information officer for the City of Midland, they first received the call about the explosion at 11:30 a.m.

Officials determined the location of the pipeline while in the process of stopping the flow and determining that it was a gas pipeline.

Fire Department personnel suppressed the fire however approximately one hour later a second and third small explosion followed.

She says that three explosions occurred within several feet from each other, a large explosion, a medium explosion, and a small explosion.

Agencies responding included TX DPS, Midland Fire Department, and Greenwood Fire Department.

Multiple pipelines are located at the site, the operator of the pipeline in question is unknown at this time. First responders have been focused on shutting off pressure and flow to the pipelines at the site.

Ladd says there is no danger to the general public.
___

ORIGINAL STORY---Authorities are on the scene of a pipeline explosion in Midland County Wednesday afternoon.

According to the Midland County Sheriff's Office, South FM 1379 to the south of State Highway 158 is blocked off as officials work the scene.

TxDOT recommends the following detours:

FM 1379 detours: Traffic needing to access FM 1379 east off 158 take: SH 158 to FM 137 to FM 2401 to RM 1357 to FM 1379. Traffic on FM 1379 trying to access SH 158 take: FM 1379 to RM 1357 to FM 2401 to SH 137 and back to SH 158.

There is no word yet on injuries being reported from the scene.

CBS 7 will update this story once more information becomes available.