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Heater ignited oil mist, company says

Associated Press

DULUTH, Minn.— Enbridge Energy says an explosion in November that killed two workers in Minnesota happened after oil mist escaped from a coupling and was ignited by a heater.

Enbridge did its own investigation after the November 28 explosion near Clearbrook in northwestern Minnesota. A federal investigation is not yet finished.

Enbridge says an exposed pipeline was not anchored properly. When it was filled with oil, the couplings that held the pipe segments allowed an oil mist to escape. The company says the mist was probably ignited by an open-flame heater that was there to warm workers.

Enbridge spokeswoman Denise Hamsher says the explosion is not the fault of any employee or crew member.

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Hamsher says the company and an outside engineering firm re-created the Clearbrook pipeline situation in a lab, and studied the simulation to determine how the explosion happened.

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