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Friday, May 31, 2019

Pipeline Safety Investigation Probes Incident Damaging Clarion County Home and Greenhouse

HARRISBURG – May 31, 2019---Pipeline safety engineers from the Bureau of Investigation & Enforcement (I&E) – the independent investigation and enforcement bureau of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) – are continuing to investigate an incident in Clarion County.

The reported explosion the evening of May 28th seriously damaged a home and adjacent greenhouse (Kemmers Greenhouse) along Pine Run Road in the village of Mayport and sent one person to the hospital for treatment.

Investigators from I&E are coordinating their pipeline safety review with the Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshall and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection – and have also conferred with the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

As part of the preliminary investigation, engineers have identified three pipelines located near the site, including two natural gas transmission lines operated by TransCanada, along with a natural gas line supplying the house and greenhouse operated by Empire Energy.

Two of those pipelines (the Empire Energy line and one of the TransCanada lines) have been placed out of service as part of the ongoing investigation. The third line is a TransCanada interstate transmission line under the jurisdiction of PHMSA and is not impacted by this investigation.

Pipeline safety engineers have been on-site since shortly after the incident was reported to the PUC and continue working to determine whether natural gas service was involved in the incident and whether there were any violations of state or federal pipeline safety regulations.

I&E investigators thanked emergency responders and other agencies for their quick work addressing the incident and ongoing cooperation.

Reporting Pipeline Safety Incidents

The Pipeline Safety Division encourages residents and businesses located near pipelines to understand how to recognize and report unusual incidents involving those lines – including the sounds, smells and sights of possible leaks.

Pipeline operators are required to regularly provide safety and awareness information to property owners along their routes, along with emergency contact information. If you suspect a leak, call 9-1-1 or local emergency responders and the pipeline operator from a safe location.

About the Bureau of Investigation & Enforcement

As the independent investigation and enforcement bureau of the PUC, I&E enforces state and federal pipeline safety and motor carrier safety laws and regulations and represents the public interest in ratemaking and service matters before the PUC’s Office of Administrative Law Judge. I&E has the authority to bring enforcement action, seek emergency orders from the Commission or take other steps to ensure public safety.

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