All expenses paid following pipeline explosion

The Kanawha County Commission got a check Monday from NiSource-Columbia Gas paying the state and local damages that were created by the Dec. 11 natural gas pipeline explosion near Sissonville.

The $231,480.79 check comes from the expense reports turned in from Kanawha County and the state.

“I want to publicly thank NiSource, the gas company, for stepping forward and paying the damage they did,” Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said Monday. “Not only to the public side, but more importantly, to the private side.”

No one was injured in the blast but four residences were destroyed and five others damaged by the huge fire that resulted from the explosion.

“They’ve (NiSource-Columbia) been meeting with homeowners and residents since day one and have been very could about accepting the responsibility and damage for the harm that they caused,” Carper said.

The expenses included damage to Interstate 77. The fire burned the pavement to the gravel base and it had to be repaved in one night. There were also expenses for personnel and communications.

“The things that the taxpayers had to pay for and in a case like this shouldn’t be the responsibility of the taxpayers,” Carper said.

The Kanawha County Commission’s highest priority in connection with the explosion is the ongoing discussion about the restarting of the pipeline that exploded.

“We’re going to insist that that gas line is proven to be safe before it’s pressured again,” Carper said. “The assumption that only part of it was weak is not going to work. They have to prove to us that it is safe.”

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