Pipeline shutdown: Drivers urged to continue normal fueling - WSMV News 4

Drivers urged to continue normal fueling habits following pipeline explosion

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(WSMV file photo) (WSMV file photo)

A massive explosion rocked a crucial gas pipeline in Alabama on Monday, not too far from the site of a major rupture in September.

One worker is confirmed dead and six others were injured in the explosion, which was reportedly caused by a track hoe hitting and rupturing the gas line.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Colonial Pipeline Company's gasoline line was still shut down. The company estimates it will be down for the rest of the week.

The second line, which transports diesel, jet fuel and other distillates, resumed service at 11 p.m. Monday.

State officials in Tennessee say they are watching the situation in Alabama closely.

"There is no reason to panic because there is fuel and fuel continues to come into the state," said Emily LeRoy, executive director for the Tennessee Fuel and Convenience Store Association.

This accident happened just miles away from a leak that happened in September, which led to shortages and higher prices at the pump in Middle Tennessee.

According to a TEMA spokesperson, this happened because supplies were already shorter than usual because gas stations were in the middle of changing summer fuel. The leak also interrupted gas transports.

LeRoy said fuel terminals in Nashville were at normal capacity when the explosion happened on Monday.

Officials said the gas supply is in good shape statewide, but they do have contingency plans in place.

Until the gas line reopens, drivers are encouraged to continue their normal refueling habits.

"As everyone will remember from a month ago, we can bring in enough fuel to serve Tennesseans, even when a pipeline is shutdown," said LeRoy in a news release. "What creates a challenge is when consumers fill up gas tanks and containers at the same time."

In September, Tennessee declared a state of emergency a month after the line broke in Alabama. Channel 4 asked LeRoy if this could happen. She said it depends on how long the line will be shut down.

"If we get to the point where drivers are having to drive far distances to get fuel in, then it would be necessary to do the state of emergency," LeRoy said.

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