Enbridge closes Illinois pipeline after fiery crash near Chicago

Enbridge has closed a pipeline in Illinois after a car crashed into the pipline in a Chicago suburb,  killing two people and setting off a fire that burned for about three hours. The pipeline leaked for about six hours.

The Chicago Tribune reported that a car crashed through a fence in New Lennox, Illinois, a Chicago suburb, and struck the pipeline.   Two men in the car died, three others, all in their 20s, in a second car, were injured. The Tribune says environmental and repair crews were able to seal the leak.

The Calgary Herald reports:

Enbridge Inc. said on Sunday it does not know yet when it can restart a key segment of its oil pipeline system in the U.S. Midwest, after a deadly vehicle accident in Illinois caused an oil leak and fire, likely squeezing supplies for refiners in the region.

The outage of Enbridge’s 318,000 barrel a day Line 14/64, which extends to Griffith, Indiana, from Superior, Wisconsin, is also expected to pressure already-weak prices for Canadian crude this week as supplies back up in Alberta, market sources and analysts said.


The Chicago Sun Times, in a more detailed report, “‘It’s horrible, horrible, horrible’: 2 dead in oil pipeline crash” says there were two vehicles involved in the crash about 2:05 am that caused an explosion that burned for hours

The fire that erupted in New Lenox Township could be seen from at least a half-mile away and wasn’t put out until 5 a.m., three hours after the explosion, and the pipeline wasn’t capped for six hours. The situation was so hazardous that even by Saturday afternoon, coroner’s officials had not been able to recover the bodies…

A Ford Mustang with two people inside and an SUV with three occupants were apparently driving side by side when they went through a chain-link fence at the end of a dead-end road and traveled about 125 feet before striking the pipeline. The crash ignited the crude oil inside the pipeline.

A worker said the impact with the pipe appeared to have “sheared off” the top of the Mustang.

The Sun Times says a local police officer was able to help the three injured men escape from the SUV and then get over the fence. No one was able to help the two men in the Mustang. One of the dead was later identified as a local firefighter.

The CBS News bureau in Chicago reported;

The crude oil leak was capped at 8 a.m., said Rich Adams, vice president of U.S. operations for Enbridge Energy Company.

“When you hit a liquid fuel line, usually it’s not very good. They can ignite and there was ignition,” New Lenox Fire Protection District Chief Jon Mead said.