Was It Marked?

By: Kari Huston
By: Kari Huston

Investigators have some digging of their own to do. The gas line that exploded and killed an apprentice lineman, may or may not have been properly marked before the dig.

Danny Young was running new electric lines on this property when his trencher hit a gas line.

According to his employer, Midwest Energy Cooperative, before they dig on any property they call Miss Dig, one-call utility notification network. Miss Dig then notifies other utilities that have underground lines in that area and those utilities are to mark their lines. “It appears that the lines were not marked,” says Patty Nowlin, a representative of Midwest Energy. “We're still waiting for the official word from the investigation about that before we start pointing fingers at anybody.”

The gas line is part of a major artery that runs from Oklahoma to Michigan. That line belongs to ANR, a subsidiary of El Paso Corporation. “That section of pipeline that was involved in this incident was isolated as quickly as possible so that the flow of gas could be brought under control,” explains Richard Wheatley of El Paso Corporation.

El Paso Corporation will not say if they were even contacted by Miss Dig and asked to mark the gas line. They say an investigation will tell in time.

“The ANR Pipeline Company has folks coming from Houston, Texas and they'll be here tonight,” says Mike Holdeman, Chief of Porter Fire Department. “They'll start an investigation in the morning.”

Danny Young's body was recovered just after 5 Tuesday night and for the remainder of the evening the Cass County Sheriff's Department will keep watch on the site.

A new day could reveal new details. Was this the mistake of an apprentice lineman who missed the markings or a breakdown of communication about a gas line that was never properly marked at all?

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