Panola pipeline rupture lights up night sky

East Texas News at 6.
Published: Jun. 20, 2019 at 10:35 PM CDT
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PANOLA COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - Witnesses say the ground shook underneath them, and the night sky was lit up by a fireball when a gas pipeline ruptured near an East Texas airport.

The pipeline ruptured around 10 Wednesday night near the Panola County airport on Highway 79 near County Road 301, just north of Carthage.

Though witnesses say there was little sound, what they saw after a gas pipeline rupture was unnerving.

“I didn’t hear anything; the first thing I saw was the orange flash. I was actually walking by the window when it happened. Extremely eerie, 'cause I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t know how close it was,” said area resident Tyler Anderson.

The sheriff’s office was quickly on scene, and as a safety precaution, closed the highway near the airport.

“It was in a very remote area. A pipeline that was one fire. It was quickly determined that no residents were involved in this or in danger, [but] for a precaution we did close off Highway 79,” said Panola county sheriff Kevin Lake.

"I definitely saw the orange light before I felt or heard anything. I felt it rumble," said Becky Anderson.

“Before I knew it, all I could see was orange, and look outside and it looked like it was three feet from the window,” Tyler says.

According to the sheriff’s office, the pipeline ruptured, it did not explode. Under back pressure it ruptured and the gas inside ignited.

Then Anderson says there was the strange hissing sound.

“That was my first instinct, that was a gas line or something gas related,” she says.

Fire officials say the pipeline was a DCP Midstream transmission line, which was isolated and the product was allowed to burn off.

Like a balloon that's over inflated, pressure burst the pipe.

“You would see people out on their porch looking at it; it looked like something out of a disaster movie you know,” says Tyler.

No injuries were reported, nor was there any report of damage.

DPS and Carthage firefighters responded to the scene.

Highway 79 was reopened this morning, and an investigation into what caused the rupture is underway.

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