a gas pipeline

Bellingham, Washington Authorities Remember Pipeline Victims

Ten years ago today, Liam Wood, 18, Stephen Tsiorvas, 10, and Wade King, 10, died in a fireball from a leaking gasoline pipeline. The incident shocked the state and prompted a stronger federal law governing underground pipeline inspections and enforcement.

Bellingham, Wash., and Washington state authorities are paying tribute today to three victims who died on June 10, 1999, in a gasoline pipeline explosion and fire that brought about stronger federal requirements for pipeline safety. Liam Wood, 18, Stephen Tsiorvas, 10, and Wade King, 10, died in a fireball from a leaking pipeline owned by Olympic Pipe Line Co., which undertook extensive cleanup and environmental restoration work and paid $10 million in federal penalties.

The incident focused national attention on underground pipeline safety and resulted in Congress' passage in 2002 of the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act and the Pipeline Inspection, Protection, Enforcement and Safety Act in 2006. Washington state's 2000 pipeline safety law has resulted in more than 400 standard pipeline inspections and correction of more than 1,000 state and federal code violations, Jeffrey Goltz, chairman of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, writes in a copyright op-ed column in today's Seattle Times.

The Bellingham Herald has extensive coverage of the disaster and its aftermath in its online edition today.

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