EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSCOLUMBIA GAS STATEMENT
from Eyewitness News Online
Columbia Gas Transmission CEO Writes Open Letter In Wake Of Explosion
Reported by: Jeff Morris
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Reported: Dec. 14, 2012 12:20 PM EST
Updated: Dec. 14, 2012 12:40 PM EST
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
The chief executive officer of Columbia Gas Transmission has written an open letter to Kanawha County families in the wake of Tuesday's natural gas explosion in Sissonville, saying the company is committed to helping people recover and rebuild.
Columbia Gas Transmission owns the pipeline that exploded and destroyed four homes, damaged several others and damaged area roadways. The incident caused a massive response from emergency personnel, and the explosion is now the subject of an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.
In the letter, CEO Jimmy Staton said, "Last Tuesday, something went terribly wrong with our natural gas pipeline near Sissonville, and we are working tirelessly – in full cooperation with state and federal authorities – to find out why.
"As the investigation into this incident continues, I want to share with you our commitments to the Sissonville community and to all those who have concerns about this incident:
"We will do the right thing to help those impacted. We are thankful that there were no serious injuries, but we also recognize the significant hardship it has had on the community, particularly for those whose homes were lost or damaged. Along with community partners and support groups, we are working to help those in need – providing temporary housing and other essentials. That support will continue as long as necessary to help these families’ lives return to normal. We thank all those who provided assistance.
"As a longtime resident of West Virginia, I know firsthand that during a crisis or challenge, we come together to help each other. I deeply appreciate the dedication and commitment of so many first responders, the Department of Highways, members of the community, and our own employee team. Over the coming weeks, our team will be working to express that appreciation directly to the residents and community organizations that provided support following the incident. Thank you for helping your fellow neighbors.
"We will determine the cause and make sure our system is safe. I know the people of Kanawha County want answers, and rest assured, we will work with the National Transportation Safety Board to find the cause of this incident. Our primary responsibility is to ensure public safety through responsible operations. We are fully committed to supporting the NTSB investigation into this incident, and will take every step necessary to ensure the continued safety of our pipeline system.
"We are proud to call West Virginia home. Columbia Gas Transmission employees have lived, worked and served in West Virginia for more than 100 years. I know I speak for our more than 500 employees in the state when I say we are proud to be a part of this community we call home. We will demonstrate that pride by fulfilling these commitments to you."
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