I-Team: Power Company Fined After Ruptured Gas Line & Explosion
FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) - Texas New Mexico Power Company is a utility company that hit a Lewisville gas line back in January. The explosion left one man dead and several other residents out of their homes for months.
The CBS 11 I-Team has confirmed one part of the state’s investigation is done and penalties have been dished out.
But the Texas Railroad Commission is refusing to tell us which rules Texas New Mexico Power broke or how much they’re being fined. However, we do know state investigators believe this incident might have been prevented if the company had just followed the rules ahead of time. Sources tell us one of the rules the company is accused of breaking is failing to call 8-1-1 before digging; it’s a system that helps locate and mark gas lines.
“I looked out the window and it was like flames and stuff shooting everywhere,” Jim Gentle told us.
Six months ago Gentle was home when a crew working for the Texas New Mexico Power Company was digging to replace one of their utility poles. The crew hit a gas line that day owned by Atmos Energy. Gentle’s physical scars have long-been healed, but his frustration with not knowing who’s to blame still lingers.
“A situation like that should have been taken care of. I mean going through their process as soon as they can get it resolved, considering what the circumstances were at the time. And who was here and who wasn’t,” Gentle added.
The explosion left one man dead, Scott Deahl, and destroyed at least three apartment units owned by the non-profit Christian Community Action. The Texas Railroad Commission is in charge of the investigation. Even though the rubble has been cleared for more than a month, the state agency isn’t saying much about its findings.
Just a few days after the explosion Atmos Energy and Texas New Mexico Power Company filed separate incident reports. Those reports, called damage prevention forms, detail what both companies did before, during, and after the crew hit the gas line.
The reports were recently changed by the Texas Railroad Commission after it finished part of its investigation. Atmos Energy’s report now says its case is closed and the company received no penalty. But Texas New Mexico Power Company’s report says that case is open and on a docket and a settlement letter laying out its violations and fines was sent on June 13th.
SCROLL BELOW TO READ FULL TEXAS NEW MEXICO POWER REPORT:
SCROLL BELOW TO READ FULL ATMOS REPORT:
Both companies refused to talk on camera or even give us a statement due to pending litigation and negotiations.
The Texas Railroad Commission tells us they are still working on the second part of the investigation. So, Atmos Energy might not be completely in the clear.
We’ll keep following this one for you.