Iowa construction company fined for Hinton explosion - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Iowa construction company fined for Hinton explosion

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The Iowa Attorney General's office says a construction company will pay $20,000 in fines for causing a gas explosion near Hinton.

On April 25, a tile plow operated by DeRocher Construction hit and ruptured a 24-inch diameter natural gas pipeline, owned by Northern Natural Gas.  The damage to the pipeline caused a massive explosion and fire.  Two employees were injured in the blast.  In addition to destroying the company's plow and bulldozer, it also destroyed an overhead high voltage power line and power line poles, and damaged the natural gas pipeline.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller says DeRocher construction failed to provide 48-hour notice of excavations to install drainage tile in rural Plymouth County.  "All they had to do was make one free phone call that the law requires, and they didn't do it."

The Remsen Volunteer Fire Department, Hinton Volunteer Fire Department, Lawton Fire Department, Le Mars Volunteer Fire Department and Plymouth County Sheriff's Office responded to the incident.

One week later, on May 2, DeRocher Construction again conducted excavations to install drainage tile, near the same pipelines, without providing a 48-hour notice of the excavations.

Patrick DeRocher and Cynthia DeRocher, who owned DeRocher Construction, have entered into a consent decree assessing the maximum civil penalty of $20,000, and consenting to a permanent injunction against further violations.

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