Sunday, May 20 , 2018, 3:35 pm | A Few Clouds 68º


Local News

Ruptured Underground Pipe Sparks Explosion at Santa Maria Greenhouse Farm

An early morning explosion in Santa Maria was blamed on a ruptured underground pipe at Windset Farms on the city’s western edge, authorities say.

According to Santa Maria fire Battalion Chief Thomas Crakes, personnel from the Santa Maria and Santa Barbara County fire departments were dispatched around 5 a.m. to 1650 S. Black Road where a structure fire with an explosion had been reported.

He said a release of liquid CO2, or carbon dioxide, from a ruptured pipe buried in the ground sparked the explosion seen and felt at the site.

“The leak was next to a greenhouse and away from the storage tanks,” Crakes said.

A plant worker was able to shut off the valves at the storage tanks and stopped the flow of liquid CO2.

“The vapor cloud dissipated in a few minutes after the flow was shut off,” Crakes said. “No product left the property.”

Black Road was shut down for a time due to fire trucks parked on the street.

No fire or flash fire occurred and damaged at the site was caused by the ruptured pipe, Crakes said.

The county HazMat unit was canceled prior to its arrival, and county fire equipment was also released.

One worker was transported to Marian Regional Medical Center as a precaution, Crakes said.

The cause of the rupture is under investigation, he added.

After an inspection, the area was deemed safe for limited use, only to allow for the cleanup and repair of the facility, Crakes said.

British Columbia-based Windset Farms operates several greenhouses growing different varieties of tomatoes. The family-owned company also grows other specialty fruits and vegetables with operations in Las Vegas and Canada.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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