June 7, 2010
NTSB Number: PAB-13-02
Adopted: September 9, 2013
On June 7, 2010, at 2:40 p.m., a truck-mounted power auger (auger truck) operated by C&H Power Line Construction (C&H) struck and punctured a 36-inch-diameter natural gas transmission pipeline operated by Enterprise Products Operating, LLC (Enterprise). C&H, a contractor working for Brazos Electric (Brazos), was using the auger truck to dig holes for the installation of new electric service utility poles. The accident occurred about 45 miles southwest of Fort Worth, Texas, near the town of Cleburne. The natural gas ignited and killed the auger operator and burned six workers, who were transported to a nearby hospital for treatment. The pipeline had a maximum allowable operating pressure (MAOP) of 1,051 pounds per square inch, gauge (psig) and was operating at 950 psig at the time of the accident. Total property damage and clean-up costs were estimated to be $1,029,000.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the rupture and fire was a contractor's puncturing the unmarked, underground natural gas pipeline with a power auger. Contributing factors were the lack of permanent markers along the Enterprise Products Operating, LLC, pipeline and the failure of the Enterprise pipeline locator to locate and mark the pipeline before C&H Power Line Construction attempted to install the utility pole in the pipeline right-of-way.