Butler, AL Gas Line Explosion, June 1972


Butler, Ala. (AP) -- Officials say an explosion and fire that killed three persons near here Tuesday apparently was ignited when a motorist tried to start his stalled car near a ruptured gas line.
Choctaw County Sheriff Leon Clark said a road grader working in a rural area rammed a major gas line and ruptured it.
Officers said the operator of the grader, HARMON LAND, struck the gas line where it crossed the road. LAND was overcome by gas and was rescued by ODELL TODD, another county employe.
Clark said the explosion occurred some time after the line was broken. He said a motorist "cranking his motor might have caused it."
A stalled vehicle was spotted in the area prior to the blast, Clark said.
A spokesman for Humble Pipeline Co., operator of the 12-inch line, said the dead and injured were occupants of two cars in the area. The victims were identified as ROBERT TURNER, 87, and JIMMY CHANEY, 63, both of Ward, a community near here, and CELIA MORRIS, 61, of Mobile.
The gas line, which extends from Texas to North Carolina, was shut down shortly after the rupture.
Blazing gas set off woods nearby and several fire companies from surrounding communities were called to fight the flames.

Avalanche Journal Lubbock Texas 1972-06-21