By Bill Hudson, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) –- Centerpoint Energy crews and investigators with the Minnesota Office of Pipeline Safety (MnOPS) spent Friday surveying the pipe that ruptured into flames Friday in an attempt to remove the failed pipe segment and sent it to a laboratory for testing.

The scene of the failed pipe looked like a construction site. Backhoes and utility trucks, hardhats and shovels hovered around a large hole in the middle of the street. The force of the blast from the pipe was so large and the heat so intense, trees, power lines and nearby vehicles stood charged and melted.

“We’re in the construction phase of the process in order to extract the pipe segment and complete a thorough investigation,” said Becca Virden, the Centerpoint spokesperson.

The extracted pipe segment will be removed and sent to a metallurgical laboratory for testing. Preliminary causes may include corrosion, a failed joint or the possibility that a frost heave fractured a weld.

Because the 20-inch pipeline is a main feeder into Minneapolis, it has to be isolated and sealed.

A spokesperson with MnOPS said the investigation into what caused the blast will not be quick. In all likelihood the final report won’t be out for at least six months.


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