LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A lawsuit filed on behalf of those who were injured or who had property damaged in a fatal pipeline explosion in Lincoln County, Kentucky, alleges the operator failed to maintain and repair the line.
The lawsuit filed Thursday by Danville, Kentucky, attorney Ephraim W. Helton listed more than 80 people affected by the blast last August near Junction City, according to a report from the Associated Press.
Lisa Denise Derringer, 58, died, and at least five others were hospitalized following the explosion, according to a federal report. Derringer's family in September 2019 filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the pipeline's owner, Canada-based Enbridge, and other associated companies claiming they failed to properly supervise crews, properly train employees and properly inspect and monitor equipment.
The lawsuit accused operator Texas Eastern Transmission LP, a subsidiary of Canadian energy company Enbridge, and others of "failing to properly build and maintain the line, failing to identify and correct hazardous conditions, operating the pipeline at a dangerously high pressure and not having an adequate emergency plan," among other allegations, according to the lawsuit.
The 30-inch-wide pipeline moved natural gas under such high pressure that the flames reached about 300 feet in the air and could be seen throughout the county, Kentucky State Police spokesman Robert Purdy said at the time.
The flames damaged or destroyed more than a dozen homes and scorched 30 acres.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating whether corrosion could have caused the blast, and the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration announced in an April report that there were defects in the pipeline that the operator missed, according to the AP's report. The agency ordered the operator to review two decades’ worth of tests to determine whether there could be additional remaining defects in the line.
An Enbridge spokeswoman said the company had no comment on the lawsuit, according to the AP.
Federal investigators visited the site of the explosion a month after the blast to determine how the public's health was affected by the incident. The investigation is ongoing.
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- Federal investigators in Lincoln County, Ky. to assess health effects of Aug. 1 gas pipeline explosion
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