Rescue Workers File Suit in Pipeline Explosion Case
USA, New Mexico, Carlsbad, July 2 2003.
Firefighters and rescue workers filed suit against El Paso Natural Gas Co. in the case of a natural gas pipeline explosion near Carlsbad, N.M. that killed 12 people three years ago.
According to the Houston Business Journal, the dozen emergency services workers, who responded to the explosion, claim the accident was caused by gross misconduct on the part of El Paso Natural Gas., a subsidiary of Houston-based El Paso Corp. The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount of damages.
Victims of the Aug. 19, 2000 explosion, including five children, were camping near the Pecos river. The lawsuit claims the design and construction of the pipeline were faulty and that the company failed to heed warnings and implement safety improvements to the line. The emergency workers allege they suffered not only physical and emotional pain, but were traumatized by the "horrific conditions" during rescue operations.
The explosion was caused by water and other substances trapped in the pipeline that corroded it over time. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, which investigated the explosion, the company should have detected the corrosion but failed to monitor the pipeline properly. Government investigators were also faulted for failing to discover that El Paso was not properly monitoring corrosion in the line.
El Paso has reportedly implemented a pipeline inspection system and has cooperated fully with investigators since the Carlsbad explosion.
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