Gas Pipeline Explosion and Fire in Nachusa, Near Dixon, Illinois

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Lee County Sheriff’s deputies and Dixon area firefighters responded about 9:00 a.m. Tuesday, December 5, 2017 to an explosion and fire after a natural gas pipeline was ruptured on a farm in Lee County near Route 38 between Nachsa Road and Robbins Road.

Two people were killed and two people were injured. One person was listed in critical but stable condition, and one person was listed in stable condition.

The Lee County Coroner was called to the scene, where two tractors and a pickup truck were also located and damaged by fire at the scene.

The Illinois State Fire Marshal is investigating. Early witness reports indicate a farming equipment may have struck a major gas line and compromised the gas line.

Fire crews reported that farm workers were working with installing drain tiles when a tractor became stuck, and a second tractor was being used to free the first tractor when the explosion occurred.

The Lee Energy facility (gas-fueled) is located just south of the fire scene. Dynegy Inc. this summer reached an agreement to sell the facility to an affiliate of Rockland Capital. The facility was acquired in July 2017. The site was previously owned by Duke Energy.

The Lee Energy Facility is a 780 MW natural gas-fired peaking facility located in Dixon, Illinois that operates in the ComEd region of PJM, according to Rockland Capital. It benefits from PJM’s forward capacity market, through which it has sold capacity through May 31, 2021, locking in the strong pricing associated with the ComEd region.

PJM Interconnection is a regional transmission organization (RTO) that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in all or parts of 13 states (Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia) and the District of Columbia.

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