Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Bookmark and Share this page

Accident Report Detail

Natural Gas Pipeline Rupture and Subsequent Explosion

Executive Summary

‚ÄčAbout 10:50 a.m. on December 11, 1998, while attempting to install a utility pole support anchor in a city sidewalk in St. Cloud, Minnesota, a communications network installation crew struck and ruptured an underground, 1-inch-diameter, high-pressure plastic gas service pipeline, thereby precipitating a natural gas leak. About 39 minutes later, while utility workers and emergency response personnel were taking preliminary precautions and assessing the situation, an explosion occurred. As a result of the explosion, 4 persons were fatally injured; 1 person was seriously injured; and 10 persons, including 2 firefighters and 1 police officer, received minor injuries. Six buildings were destroyed. Damage assessments estimated property losses at $399,000.

Probable Cause

‚ÄčThe National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the lack of adequate procedures by Cable Contructors, Inc., to prevent damage to nearby utilities when its anchor installation crews encountered unusual conditions such as striking an underground obstacle. Contributing to the severity of the accident was the delay by Cable Contructors, Inc., in notifying the proper authorities.

Accident Location: St. Cloud , MN    
Accident Date: 12/11/1998
Accident ID: DCA99MP001

Date Adopted: 7/11/2000
NTSB Number: PAR-00-01
NTIS Number: PB2000-916501