Rusk County Gas Line Explodes - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/25/07-Rusk County

Rusk County Gas Line Explodes

 A massive gas pipeline explosion lights up the sky in a remote area of Rusk county.  Authorities say it took several hours to get the blaze under control after a major gas line ruptured on County Road 426, just west of Henderson.  Residents say there was a massive fireball in the sky, as the ignited gas burned trees and a nearby hayfield, leaving neighbors thinking a bomb went off.

"Yeah we heard it when it blew," said area resident Tommy Churchman.  "My wife came running up the stairs and she said there's a fire out there in the pasture.  It was so bright she thought it was just in the pasture across the road from the house."

"The line ruptured and caught on fire and we initiated our emergency response plan," said pipeline owner Kinder-Morgan Operations Manager Gary Park.  "Our people reacted to get the area cordoned off."  Residents who live in the area say is was an enormous blast, and they felt is as far away as seven miles.  Frightened homeowners were quickly notified, and five nearby homes were evacuated.

"The public safety is our first concern," said Park.  In spite of the remote area, fire crews were quickly on the scene, trying to contain the fires set by the blast.

"We still have people on sight monitoring the situation," said Park.  "We'll conduct an investigation as to what caused the problem that will be kind of a lengthy process because of course want to make sure we know what happened."  Investigators  are now trying to determine what caused the explosion. 

Residents were allowed back to their homes late this morning.  So far, there are no reports of injuries and only one report of minor damage to a nearby home.  

Bob Hallmark, Reporting.


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