Enbridge shuts down pipeline after Illinois explosion
Published Sunday, March 4, 2012 7:42PM EST
NEW LENOX, Ill. - Enbridge Inc. has shut down a pipeline that carries oil from Canada to the U.S. after two vehicles crashed through a fence outside Chicago and struck the pipeline, causing a fiery explosion.
Police in New Lenox, Ill., say two men were killed and three others were injured in the Saturday crash.
Enbridge spokeswoman Lorraine Little said the pipeline was shut down immediately when sensors detected a drop in pressure. A second, undamaged line was also shut down as a precaution.
Both lines carry crude oil from Enbridge's facility in Superior, Wis. to a terminal in Griffith, Ind..
Little said the undamaged line has reopened, but Line 14 remains closed and she said it likely won't be restarted until Thursday.
"Emergency crews and Enbridge crews were at the site as quickly as possible. At this time our thoughts are with the accident victims and their families," Little said on Sunday.
The line is 60 centimetres wide and carries various grades of crude from Canada, as well as oil from North Dakota. It normally transports 317,000 barrels per day.
New Lenox Police Chief Bob Sterba called the crash "horrible, horrible, horrible."
Sterba said the five men involved in the crash were in their 20s and all from New Lenox, about 55 kilometres southwest of Chicago.
New Lenox Mayor Tom Balderman said crews were quickly able to seal an oil leak.
Officials said there should be no environmental impact and there is no danger to the public.
Little said that due to the closure of the line, the company has reduced the amount of oil flowing into Superior on two of its lines -- Line 3 that originates in Edmonton and Line 2b that begins in Cromer, Man.
She said it took a while to come up with an estimate for how long it would take to get the damaged line open because crews needed to wait until the fire was put out, the wreckage was cleared and the area had cooled. The amount of oil that spilled before the line was shut isn't yet known, she said.
"It was a very tragic vehicle accident and it had nothing to do with our operations. It just unfortunately occurred right at our facility," Little said.
"We have a lot of facilities. They're all protected by fencing and in some locations we have concrete barriers and things. Certainly we try to do whatever we can to keep our facility safe, but unfortunately this accident breached the chain link fence and impacted the facility."
With files from The Associated Press