An explosion of an Enbridge gas pipeline in Rusk County, Texas, claimed the life of one man Tuesday, officials said.
Conner Wilson, 32, of Longview, TX, died four hours after the explosion on FM 1798 near County Road 3122 in the Pine Hill area 12 miles southeast of Henderson.
The blast occurred at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, when mowing machinery struck a 12-inch pipeline, said Sgt. David Roberts of the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office.
“He was operating a mulching machine, and, unfortunately, he hit a pipeline and it blew,” Roberts said.
James Pike, a spokesman for Rusk County Emergency Management, said “hundreds of pounds” of natural gas released when the pipeline, owned by Enbridge Inc., ruptured. There was no fire reported, but residents within a 1-mile radius received an evacuation order.
“They had to shut down the gas line until it was safe for us to go down,” Pike said. Gas to the pipeline shut off about 6:30 p.m.
According to the Texas Railroad Commission, the majority of the pipelines in the area carry natural gas. The explosion was about 12 miles (19 km) southeast of Henderson, which is 140 miles east of Dallas.