Deadly Blast: "Pipeline Was Not Marked"

Ben Briscoe
NewsChannel 10

DARROUZETT, TEXAS - The first emergency responder on the scene at Darrouzette's deadly gas pipeline explosion is breaking his silence.

More than a month after the accident, firefighter Jimmie Willmoth says the memories still haunt him. "Oh yeah, you think about that. but you just got to deal with that in yourself," he said.

Willmoth showed up less than four minutes after the pipeline exploded, killing two people instantly.

"It was hot. You couldn't get very close to it. We just started to do our job, when we got there, what we're trained for," he said.

But Willmoth adds that was hard to do because of a fault by the company owning the line, DCP Midstream.

"The first thing they tell us to do is locate the signs of who owns the pipeline. Notify them so that they can start shutting it down. We looked on all the fence posts. We looked up and down the right a ways as close as we could get to the fire. and that was one of the problems we found no markers. No pipeline markers to notify anybody," Willmoth said.

On Monday, DCP will host a town hall style meeting to help resolve any concerns about pipeline safety. That will happen at the Booker Fire Department at 7 p.m.

The DCP spokeswoman says the company digging in the area never called the state to let them know about the excavation, so DCP was not prompted to mark the lines. But earlier this month a high level national official made the same claims as the firefighter in testimony before Congress.

The Transportation Safety Chair says all pipelines should have some form of permanent markings in addition to those done after a call to the dig line.