A release of natural gas the morning of June 23 brought back memories of an explosion five years earlier that resulted in lost property and some critical injuries to residents of Bushland, Texas. According to the Amarillo Global-News, the release was caused by a lightning strike at the nearby Atmos Energy Facility, but no service interruption or flames resulted.
"The people who live out there are pretty cognizant of what's going on out there, especially since they are a little jittery from the last time," Potter County Sheriff Brian Thomas told the news source.
An evacuation notice was announced, though many citizens had already left their homes as a precaution after remembering the damage that occurred in 2009.
"The hardest part in the world was to leave and not know what we would find when we came back because those flames were just so intense," Heather Fuentes, a local, said in 2009, according to NewsChannel10. "And we stood for quite a while at the high school and just watched. "
A spokesperson for the Pipeline Safety Division of the Texas Railroad Commission noted that the facility's pipeline safety training and equipment functioned as intended, with a relief valve activating after the lightning strike to relieve pressure and ensure a rupture did not occur. This was the cause of the gas release, however nearly $50,000 in damage still occurred due to the strike.
Preparation and reaction for any accident at a pipeline or oilfield is critical, and proper safety training will help firms respond as well as Atmos did in the recent Bushland incident. With the right planning, gas pipeline safety will be easy to achieve, eliminating many risk factors from operations.