Pressure vessel investigated as cause of Plymouth explosion

Tri-City HeraldApril 8, 2014 

Natural Gas Tank Leaking

April 2, 2014 - Liquefied natural gas vapors continue to leak Tuesday, leaving a frosty coating on the damaged storage tank at the Northwest Pipeline facility near Plymouth. Officials lifted the evacuation zone because of steps overnight taken to reduce the leak.

BOB BRAWDY — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

Officials investigating the cause of last week's explosion at a liquefied natural gas storage facility in Plymouth are looking into whether a pressure vessel may have failed, causing it to explode.

The vessel is about 30 feet tall and located alongside another vessel near a storage tank that was punctured, officials said. Officials are investigating why the vessel blew up.

Plant manager Von Strudor described the vessel as a purification tower that removes carbon dioxide from the gas before it's liquefied.

The vessel is more than 30 years old and is only in use about 20 percent of the year, Strudor said.

Crews are still working to assess the full extent of the damage at the facility and plans for repair are still unknown.

Crews started to drain natural gas from the damaged tank Tuesday and will be able to inspect the inside of the tank soon, officials said. It could take up to a week for the tank to be drained.

Multiple regulatory agencies are investigating the explosion, which sent five workers to the hospital.

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