Federal investigators blame human error for Dixon pipeline explosion that killed two people and injured two others.
The U.S. Dept. of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration revealed in a report that M&R Farms, the company that tried to install drainage tiles on a field off Nachusa Road in December 2017, ruptured a 20-inch high-pressure natural gas pipeline and caused the deadly explosion.
Rory and Ryan Miller, a father and son, died. A third person suffered severe burns on over 60% of his body. A fourth person was not seriously hurt.
Investigators say the crew installed about 400 feet of tiling when a plow got stuck. A second plow was brought in to pull it out. During that process, the plows ruptured the gas line, sparking the explosion. Further investigation revealed that M&R Farms did not contact the Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators, or JULIE, as required by state law before starting the project.
In the report, investigators said, “It is possible that this incident might have been prevented if such a notice was provided.”