Pipeline should be operational soon

Dixie Pipeline Co. officials expect the damaged propane pipeline in Thomson to be operational sometime this weekend.

A purge of the pipeline began at 11 p.m. Wednesday and ended without complications, according to Rick Rainey, a Dixie Pipeline Co. spokesman.

"There were no issues that we found," Rainey said. "Everything went well and according to plan."

Crews pushed the excess propane from the pipe, with the help of nitrogen, from a flair stack at a location in Warren County, six miles up from the incident location. Small flare-up fires were normal as the excess gas was then burned off.

Rainey said crews are now finishing an excavation to replace the damaged area with new pipe.

"It's still being determined just how much (new pipe) that will take," Rainey said.

The pipe was initially punctured Monday while Paul McCorkle, of Thomson, was working a bulldozer on his property.

McCorkle suffered freeze-type burns from the gas escaping at 900-950 PSI, authorities said. His son Jason, 23, died in a subsequent explosion. Two structures, including the home of another son, Jon, were destroyed.

Officials still haven't determined how much gas was lost in the incident, Rainey said. The amount will be determined through an investigation.