Officials say “initial site assessment reveals evidence of earth movement near the pipeline,” causing a massive early morning explosion and fire near Pittsburgh on September 10, 2018. Local CBS News put it more succinctly: “In short, a landslide took out the structural integrity of the pipeline, causing the rupture and explosion. The pipeline has only been in operation since Sept. 3.” The 24 inch line carried methane and was buried 3 feet deep. The fire burned like a blow torch, and took an hour and fifteen minutes to burn itself out after the gas was shut off. First responders say rain helped prevent spread of the fire.
People were evacuated from approximately 30 homes in a half-mile radius. No one was injured, but one house and two garages were completely destroyed, siding buckled on other houses, several cars were destroyed, and fire caused a tower for a high tension power line to buckle from the heat, taking five others with it in a chain reaction.
Is this Virginia’s future? The company building the Mountain Valley Pipeline had 50 landslides along a 55 mile pipeline it built several years ago, and numerous area prone to “earth movement” or landslides have been identified on both the MVP and Atlantic Coast Pipeline routes.