Danielle Dawn Smalley was killed in a pipeline explosion in Kaufman County, Texas in 1996. Her life and tragic death inspired her father to form the Foundation that bears her name. The Danielle Dawn Smalley Foundation is committed to preventing other people from losing their lives in a pipeline incident.
Danielle Dawn Smalley was born Sept. 1, 1978
She enjoyed a typical childhood, finishing elementary school and then attending Scurry-Rosser High School in Kaufman County, Texas. Her love of music and theater were surpassed only by her love of family. She was well read and articulate, with a sense of humor.
Danielle played volleyball in her sophomore year, among other high school activities. Her interests returned to her love of music and theater when she and a group of close friends formed a band. Danielle sang and played bass guitar, and worked in a number of one-act plays. Her acting ability earned her a drama scholarship to Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas.
On August 24, 1996, a defective high-pressure butane pipeline exploded and took the lives of Danielle and a close friend, Jason Stone, both 17.
Danielle is survived by her father Danny and her sister Amy. Her life and tragic death inspired her father to form the Foundation that bears her name. The Smalley Foundation is committed to increasing safety and awareness for those who live, work and play near oil-and-gas equipment and pipelines. We do this by empowering the general public, training first responders and partnering with the energy industry.
The Accident | Aug. 24, 1996 | KEMP, Texas
A liquid butane pipeline broke and exploded near a subdivision in this northeast Texas town, killing two teenagers who inadvertently triggered the blast with an ignition spark from their truck.
One home was destroyed in the 3:30 p.m. explosion and about 50 others were evacuated in the rural neighborhood while firefighters allowed the underground pipeline to burn. A man in the neighborhood noticed the leak and sent his daughter, Danielle Smalley, and her friend, Jason Stone, to report it. The teenagers triggered the blast with an ignition spark from their truck as they were driving away, said Kaufman County Sheriff Robert Harris.
Ms. Smalley and Mr. Stone, both 17, were killed. There were no other injuries. Flames reached dozens of feet high and a column of black smoke could be seen for miles as firefighters from six communities were called in. “While I was sitting there, it ignited,” said resident Rick Brugette. “The flames came almost up to the front door of my house. ... It was probably about 150 degrees on my porch.”
Authorities said fuel to the line had been cut off by 6 p.m., but residual fuel continued to burn throughout the evening.
The 8-inch pipeline, stretching from Medford, Okla., to Mont Belvieu, Texas, was operated by Koch Industries headquartered in Wichita, Kan.
A woman who answered the telephone at the nearby Scurry Volunteer Fire Department said the blast occurred near a subdivision called Beautiful Acres close to the small, unincorporated community of Lively. The town is about 10 miles west of Kemp, which has a population of about 1,280. Kemp is 42 miles southeast of Dallas.
Danielle sang and played bass guitar, and worked in a number of one-act plays. Her acting ability earned her a drama scholarship to Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas.