News Column

Gas Explosion Melts I-77 in W.Va.

Dec. 11, 2012

A gas line explosion in West Virginia caused a huge fire, melted part of Interstate 77 and sent flames leaping into the sky, officials said.

Officials were evacuating nearby residents in Sissonville because of fears of another explosion, The Charleston Gazette reported.

Kanawha County Fire Coordinator C.W. Sigman said a 20-inch transmission line ruptured, causing the massive fire, and several homes were burned. But emergency officials were trying to determine if there were any injuries or fatalities.

"In all my years of experience, this is the biggest fire I've ever seen," Sigman said.

Robin Fields of Charleston told the Gazette she was worried for her best friend's husband who lives in a trailer near the explosion, which other friends said was destroyed. At least four families live in trailers near the explosion, the report said.

Emily McComas, a Gazette copy editor, said she was sitting inside her home at Jenna Landing Apartments when lights began flickering before 1 p.m., the report said

"That's when I heard something that sounded like a jet was directly overhead. I thought it was a tornado," McComas said.

The blast went off at just before 1 p.m. crossed the interstate, the report said. Crews had shut off one side of the gas pipe by 1:30 p.m., the report said. State officials said one lane of the interstate might be reopened.

Source: Copyright United Press International 2012

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