The pipeline that exploded in Coolidge, AZ killing two people and injuring another was initially designed to carry crude oil, not natural gas, and therefore may not have been designed to prevent the type of rupture that occurred, an expert working on the investigation told FOX10 News. It also likely explains why, when the explosion occurred, a 46-foot section of the pipeline was ejected from the site, said Don Deaver, a pipeline expert with Deatech Consulting Company.


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Deaver’s comments appeared in a FOX10News story about the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB’s) preliminary report on the explosion that occurred on August 15, 2021.  When the explosion occurred around 5:30 a.m., it blew a crater in the ground and sent a 15-yard section of the 30-inch pipe hurtling through the air before it landed 130 feet from the site, according to the report.

With that giant section missing, gas poured from the open ends of the remaining sections at “the speed of sound, 1,400 feet per second,” Deaver told FOX10 News. The heat from the massive fireball soon enveloped a nearby farmhouse where the Alvarez family lived setting it on fire. Rosalina Alvarez sustained severe burn injuries to over 50 percent of her body and was airlifted to Maricopa Medical Center. Her husband Luis and their 14-year-old daughter Valerie were killed in the fire.

Before the explosion, the Alvarez family had lived in the Coolidge house for 15 years farming the surrounding land.  The house, which was not powered by Kinder Morgan, the gas company that owns the pipeline, was completely destroyed in the fire.

NTSB Coolidge AZ gas explosion
Image from the NTSB preliminary report on the August 15, 2021 fatal explosion in Coolidge, AZ.

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