Jury Rules for Gas Company in Pipeline Case

Staff Report
NewsWest 9

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) - Jurors have rejected emotional distress claims by firefighters and rescue workers who responded to an August 2000 pipeline explosion near Carlsbad, finding El Paso Natural Gas Co. did not show "intentional or reckless disregard" for their safety.

The verdict issued Saturday followed several weeks of testimony.

Attorneys for the first responders argued the firefighters and rescue workers were entitled to damages from El Paso Natural Gas for what they claimed was a lack of maintenance on a high-pressure gas pipeline that led to the explosion.

A fireball from the explosion killed 12 members of an extended family, including four children, that had been camping along the Pecos River.

The blast left a 20-foot-deep crater 86 by 46 feet in size.