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Feds: Ruptured W.Va. pipe may have been corroded

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 14, 2012 at 7:11 pm •  Published: December 14, 2012

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A federal investigator probing a powerful explosion and fire Tuesday that charred Interstate 77 in West Virginia said Friday that a ruptured natural gas pipe had areas consistent with external corrosion.

National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt said the pipe will undergo further analysis at an NTSB lab.

"That's exactly what we want to find out — what caused that corrosion and what could have prevented the corrosion?" Sumwalt said.

The NTSB is trying to determine the cause of Tuesday's explosion in Sissonville, which destroyed four homes and damaged a large swath of I-77. There were no serious injuries.

Sumwalt said investigators have been provided Columbia Gas Transmission records about the pipe's age, when it was installed and whether it had a corrosion prevention system.

"Now what we need to do is to comb through those records, very carefully look at them and then compare them to actually what the pipeline was," he said.

During an investigation into a 2010 deadly pipeline explosion in San Bruno, Calif., the NTSB found that PG&E records were inaccurate on key points.

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