US (CA): Ruptured underground pipe sparks explosion at Windset Farms

An early morning explosion in Santa Maria was blamed on a ruptured underground pipe at Windset Farms on the city’s western edge, authorities say.

According to Santa Maria fire Battalion Chief Thomas Crakes, personnel from the Santa Maria and Santa Barbara County fire departments were dispatched around 5 a.m. to 1650 S. Black Road where a structure fire with an explosion had been reported.

He said a release of liquid CO2, or carbon dioxide, from a ruptured pipe buried in the ground sparked the explosion seen and felt at the site.

“The leak was next to a greenhouse and away from the storage tanks,” Crakes told Noozhawk.

A plant worker was able to shut off the valves at the storage tanks and stopped the flow of liquid CO2.

“The vapor cloud dissipated in a few minutes after the flow was shut off,” Crakes said. “No product left the property.”

One worker was transported to Marian Regional Medical Center as a precaution, Crakes said.

In December, the Delta BC location of Windset Farms was hit by an unrelated incident in which several employees were exposed to carbon monoxide.

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