Update: Pipeline rupture startles Marengo County residents Tuesday morning

Some Myrtlewood residents in Marengo County got a rude awakening Tuesday, as a ruptured natural gas pipeline shook the ground and shattered windows as far as a mile away. But while the rupture sounded like major trouble, no one was injured and the pipeline’s owner is investigating the incident.

“I looked out the door and it was loud and there was red dirt going up in the air,” Myrtlewood resident Clyde Dyke said. “I thought first it was on fire, but it wasn’t, praise God for that.”

The incident happened at the Williams natural gas pipeline pumping station off Alabama Highway 114, about a mile from where Dykes lives.

He’s familiar with the pipes surrounding his house because years ago, he worked there, he said.

“I know they got automatic shutoff valves at these stations,” Dykes said. “As soon as they go off it will shut the valves off. Whatever gas is in the area, it will blow down on its own. I’m sure that’s what it did.”

District 5 Marengo County Commissioner Michael Thompson said he wound up right in the middle of the chaos by accident.

“I was headed to a meeting and I saw the sheriff flashing lights,” Thompson said. “So I slowed down, and it sounded like a freight train landing.”

Thompson said this is the first time he’s heard of anything like this happening in the area.

“I was really surprised,” he said. “They have really good safety at this facility.”

Williams sent the following statement to WVUA 23 this afternoon:

“At approximately 8:15 a.m. CT on April 12, employees at a Williams natural gas compressor facility located in Marengo County, Alabama witnessed indications of a pipeline rupture and associated natural gas release.  To minimize environmental impacts, ensure safety and isolate the equipment, Williams employees initiated emergency shutdown procedures.  There were no employee injuries, there is no impact to customer deliveries and the cause of the incident is being investigated.  There was no ignition, fire, or explosion associated with this event.”

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