Not First Flames for Gas Company

By Ben Briscoe
NewsChannel 10

BUSHLAND, TEXAS - Right now investigators are working to decide what happened in Bushland. But while they're looking into that, one neighbor is trying to figure out how this company is still operating after a not so clean record.

Thousands of pages of government reports reveal a troubled past --- El Paso National Gas had 220 pipe line failures since 1970. But the way the records are kept it's hard to tell how serious each one was.

One watch dog web site claims that since 1980 alone, there're been 40 company pipe line explosions.  1983 is the first one we were able to confirm, near Bloomfield, New Mexico. A state inspector's report found employee fault there writing: "although both persons reacted rapidly to the emergency, their actions were inappropriate."

Next to 1996, where flames flew into the air near Roswell. These document say the company quote: "considered the failure to be an isolated event."

Tell that to the injured workers in December of 1998 near Ramena, New Mexico. Or the family of 12 killed in this 2000 explosion near Carlsbad.

There a government inspector found multiple violations, and emergency response crews are suing the company for emotional damage.

Which brings us to today where neighbors are still in shock after learning these facts.

The number of events we found is about normal for a company of this size, but to remember the power of even one accident, just ask anyone living in Bushland.