Friday, November 4, 2016

Anthony Lee Willingham is the worker with L.E. Bell Construction of Heflin, AL who died in the explosion on the Colonial Pipeline in Shelby County

By Connor Sheets | 

November 02, 2016 at 6:03 PM

Officials identified Heflin resident Anthony Lee Willingham as the worker who died in the explosion on a Shelby County gasoline pipeline. (Photo via Facebook)Connor Sheets |

Officials have identified the man who was killed while working on a gasoline pipeline that exploded Monday in Shelby County, Alabama.

"We can confirm the decedent is [48-year-old] Anthony Lee Willingham," Shelby County Deputy Coroner Lina Evans said via email Wednesday afternoon.

The Heflin resident was the lone member of a nine-person crew that was present at the scene of the explosion, which state officials and Colonial Pipeline – the company that owns the line – have said was instigated by a piece of excavation equipment striking the pipeline.

Little about the 48-year-old pipeline worker has been made public, and a call to his wife, Beverly Willingham, went unanswered Wednesday. The couple was married for more than 25 years and had two daughters and multiple grandchildren.

One of Anthony Willingham's daughters told WSFA Wednesday that her father was a welder and heavy machinery worker for L.E. Bell Construction of Heflin for more than two decades.

Including, Willingham, eight of the nine workers who were at the work site in Shelby County where the Monday explosion happened were employed by L.E. Bell, and one was employed by another company, Colonial told Tuesday. Four other workers who were injured in the blast were transported Monday to UAB's burn unit for treatment. Willingham's body was recovered from the blast site Tuesday morning.

David York, a spokesman for Colonial, said Tuesday that the needs of the workers who were present at the explosion site and of their family members were the company's highest priority in the initial aftermath of the blast.

"Our focus right now is the care and comfort of the injured and the family of the gentleman who died in this event," he said. "It a devastating event, not only for the company, but also for those families, and we've got to jointly get through that."

An account has been established at Metro Bank for anyone interested in assisting the L.E. Bell families affected by the recent tragedy. Checks and Money orders should be maid payable to Pipeliner's Wives and can be mailed to: Metro Bank, PO Box 337, Heflin Al 36264! We want to say a special Thank You to everyone that has already responded. There are no words to express how much we truly appreciate all the support, thoughts and prayers that we have received.

Here some promotional information on the L.E. Bell Construction company:

L.E. Bell Construction Co. Inc.

There are more than 2.5 million miles of natural gas and crude oil pipelines in the United States, making it the largest such network in the world, according to the American Petroleum Institute.

“Pipelines exist almost everywhere – natural gas is delivered directly to homes in relatively small-diameter distribution lines buried under the street and even your own yard,” the institute says. “Larger cross-country transmission pipelines delivering gasoline, home heating oil, or moving crude oil or natural gas are actually easier to find.”

Pipelines can range in length from one mile to more than 1,000 miles, as well as vary in diameter. The approximately 55,000 miles of crude oil transmission lines in the U.S. that connect regional markets typically range from eight to 24 inches in diameter. Oil gathering lines, located primarily in oil-producing states such as Texas and North Dakota, are significantly smaller, ranging from two to eight inches in diameter.

The natural gas pipeline network in the United States is a highly integrated network of both transmission and distribution lines. This network can transport natural gas to and from any location in the continental United States and includes more than 210 natural gas pipeline systems totaling more than 305,000 miles of interstate and intrastate transmission pipelines, the institute adds.
Project Partnerships

L.E. Bell Construction has played a role in making sure natural gas and oil reach their destinations for more than 40 years. Founded in 1974, the Heflin, Ala.-based contractor provides pipeline construction services to the municipal, utility and heavy construction markets. The company is led by owner and President Larry Bell and his son Mike Bell, senior vice president. “We do our best to do the job right the first time,” the company says.

L.E. Bell Construction performs projects both as a primary contractor as well as in conjunction with a number of subcontractors. These include contractors with whom it has worked for several years.

One company L.E. Bell has regularly worked with is REM Directional, a Boligee, Ala.-based directional drilling company. REM Directional has worked on several projects in collaboration with L.E. Bell since 2006. “With every job we’ve done they’ve supported us very well, and we’ve done a good job helping them complete their projects,” REM Directional President Joel Colgrove notes. “L.E. Bell is probably one of the best contractors out there today.”

One notable project involving both companies was in 2012, when REM Directional completed the drilling for a 9,500-foot natural gas pipeline in Jackson, Miss., for Gulf South Pipeline Company, LP. The installation was completed in one continuous shot, with REM Directional needing to take 11 90-minute stops to allow L.E. Bell to weld sections of pipe together before resuming the job.

Headquartered in Houston, Gulf South is an interstate natural gas pipeline system that “gathers gas from basins between Texas and Alabama and delivers it to on-system markets within its footprint and to off-system markets in the Northeast, Midwest and Southeast through interconnections with third-party pipelines,” it says. Gulf South is located in the Gulf Coast states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. The company also owns and operates salt dome and reservoir natural gas storage facilities in Mississippi and Louisiana.

L.E. Bell has also worked extensively with Delta Directional, a directional drilling company headquartered in Newton, Miss. “Since our inception in 2001, Delta Directional Drilling has proven that we have the experience to complete any bore,” the company says. “With more than 100 years of combined knowledge in the horizontal directional drilling industry, we can take on even the most challenging of crossings.”

Delta Directional’s projects with L.E. Bell are performed with the company’s core values of “experience, integrity and perseverance” in mind. “We believe in doing the best job for our clients in a timely, cost-efficient manner. We have built strong relationships with our clients by ensuring jobs go as smoothly as possible,” Delta Directional says. “Our proven track record allows them to rest assured that they are getting a top-quality horizontal directional drilling contractor.”

Delta Directional operates 18 drilling rigs that give it the ability to work in marsh, clay, sand, gravel, cobble and rock formations. The company has completed crossings with pipe sizes ranging from 2 to 48 feet in rock formations exceeding 57,000 psi. “Every crossing has its own unique set of challenges,” the company says. “We believe that any obstacle can be overcome with proper planning and hard work. This has allowed us to persevere.”
Supplier Services

L.E. Bell and its subcontractors complete their projects using materials from several key suppliers including Snapper Industrial Products. The Atlanta-based company offers pipe, valves, fittings, tools, equipment and installation services to L.E. Bell and its other customers. Snapper Industrial Products is a distributor for a number of brands including Apollo, American Valve, Crane, Milwaukee Value, Homestead, Shurjoint and Nibco.

“We pride ourselves in our service and personal relationship with our customers,” Snapper Industrial Products says. “Our complete inventory services every piping and industrial need, from the smallest job to the largest.”

Other important suppliers include National Trench Safety. “Whether your crews are working in the trenches or between the barricades, their success and yours is linked directly to the partners you choose,” the Houston-headquartered company says. “That’s why thousands of contractors, municipalities and developers rely on us for trench boxes, trench shields, slide rail systems, message boards, barrier walls and more.”

National Trench Safety operates a national network of branch locations, which gives it the ability to respond quickly to customer needs. This includes providing on-site technical expertise and on-time equipment delivery. “We also offer trench and traffic safety training to keep your crews OSHA-compliant and safe on the jobsite,” the company says.
High Standards

L.E. Bell Construction performs all of its projects with the highest safety standards in mind. The company in recent years had its safety program and policies completely revised by United Safety LLC during a five-month audit.

Founded in 1994, United Safety LLC provides auditing, consulting and training services to clients in several fields including industrial, oilfield, petrochemical, refining, pipeline, residential, mining, commercial construction, insurance, legal and specialty contracting.

“Through these years our team has successfully guided its clients through the ever-developing world of employee safety, health and security,” the company says. “Proof of this success is evident by the long-term relationships we have built with our clients, many of whom have been with us since our inception 20 years ago, solidifying the importance and value of our service to their companies and employees alike.”