Fire was reported at a Karnes County natural gas facility

Authorities suspect a fire at a Kinder Morgan natural gas facility was started by a malfunctioning compressor.

A Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline facility in Karnes County caught fire Thursday morning.

About 5:40 a.m., emergency dispatchers received warning of the blaze and dispatched firefighters and sheriff’s deputies to the facility, said Emergency Management Coordinator and County Commissioner Shelby Dupnik.

Located at 8724 County Road 326, about two miles west of Runge, the facility pressurizes natural gas for pipeline transport, Dupnik said.

In spite of numerous safety features, a gas compressor at the location is suspected of failing and starting the blaze, he said.

No one was reported injured, and authorities have no reason to suspect foul play.

After learning about the fire, Kinder Morgan employees entered the site to shut down a pipeline feeding the compressor, Dupnik said.

Firefighters from Karnes City and Runge then allowed the fire to burn out. By 7 a.m., the flames had been extinguished.

Dupnik said he was unsure about the damage at the facility but added the compressor was likely destroyed. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality was notified about the fire, but their representatives could not be reached Thursday.

Dupnik said the fire appeared to burn cleanly, and he did not suspect any threat to nearby homes.

Kinder Morgan spokeswoman Katherine Hill said her company also did not suspect any environmental impact.

“At this time, the company believes there are no impacts to the nearby community or environment. An investigation will be conducted into the exact cause of the fire,” she said.

Kinder Morgan gas facility burns near Runge

A Kinder Morgan natural gas facility burned Thursday about 2 miles west of Runge.

Jon Wilcox reports on courts for the Victoria Advocate. He may be reached jwilcox@vicad.com or 361-580-6515.

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Jon covers crime, public safety and the courts at the Victoria Advocate. Born in Huntsville, Ala., he grew up in Atlanta, Ga. and obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism at Texas State University.

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