NTSB: 2020 Kentucky pipeline blast caused by welding defects

Published 6:39 am Friday, February 4, 2022

A natural gas pipeline explosion in eastern Kentucky in 2020 was caused by defects in the welding, federal officials said.

The explosion near a state highway in Fleming County caused no injuries, but it followed a 2019 deadly gas line explosion in Lincoln County. Both lines are owned by Enbridge, a Canadian energy company.

A report from the National Transportation Safety Board said the Fleming County pipeline ruptured on May 5, 2020, causing a fire that burned about 5 acres of vegetation near Hillsboro. NTSB investigators found two weak spots on a pipeline weld at the site of the explosion.

Enbridge estimated the cost of property damage and emergency response was nearly $12 million, according to the report, which was released in January.

The 2019 pipeline explosion killed a woman in Lincoln County and sent five other people to a hospital. The blaze burned about 30 acres of land.