EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSNTSB INVESTIGATION
from Eyewitness News Online
NTSB Says No Alarms Sounded At Columbia Control Station After Blast
Reported by: Leslie Rubin
Videographer: Troy Morgan
Web Producer: Leslie Rubin
Reported: Dec. 12, 2012 10:13 PM EST
Updated: Dec. 13, 2012 2:05 PM EST
Sissonville , Kanawha County , West Virginia
The investigation into what sparked the massive gas line explosion in Sissonville has started. The National Transportation Safety Board is heading up that investigation.
NTSB investigators arrived in Charleston late Tuesday night and were on scene at the blast site at 8 a.m. Wednesday.
The federal agency is not ready to answer many questions, but did shed some light into what happened in the minutes after the interstate inferno.
A 10-man crew is piecing together the investigation. Its mission right now is to collect evidence and facts.
"We began our on scene phase of the investigation," said Robert Sumwalt, NTSB board member, during a press conference on Wednesday.
Sumwalt said the blast caused a 15- to 17-foot crater. There were two other lines nearby, but a 20-foot long section of the Columbia gas pipe was found more than 40 feet from the rupture site. It was almost completely flattened.
"What we've been doing today is surveying and documenting the exact location of the pipes and the part that was displaced," Sumwalt said.
Seconds after the blast, the NTSB said no alarms were activated at the Columbia Gas control center in Charleston. Members of the team plan to travel there Thursday in an effort to figure out why.
"Looking at those records. All of the data, all of the information from the control center is recorded. We will be looking very carefully at that, we will be gathering that information," Sumwalt said.
About 1:45 p.m., about an hour after the initial explosion, the isolation valves were manually shut down, stopping the flow of gas and putting the fire out, but not before a path of destruction was left behind, scorching four homes and an 800-foot section of the interstate.
"Part of our investigation will be looking to see if this pipe was shut down in a reasonable and prudent fashion," Sumwalt said.
NTSB investigators said they weren't sure of when the pipeline was last inspected. They also weren't sure if it was connected to the same system as the one that exploded in 2002 in the same area.
Investigators are looking for witnesses to the blast, and others who may have knowledge of the area, and the pipeline. You can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MORE NEWS FROM EYEWITNESS NEWS
2012 NEWS: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC
Home | Eyewitness News Newsroom | Storm Team Weather | Eyewitness Sports | Schedules
Send email to email@example.com for information or comments concerning WCHS-TV Eyewitness News.
Copyright ©2013, WCHS-TV8. Portions are
Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or distributed.