Kentucky: 1 dead, 5 hospitalized in gas line rupture, fire

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UPDATE

JUNCTION CITY, Ky. (WEHT) – Several media outlets in the area are reporting that as many as seven people are still unaccounted for.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following statements on the floor of the US Senate Thursday:

“My office and I are closely monitoring a significant explosion of a natural gas transmission pipeline near Danville, in Lincoln County, Kentucky early this morning.

As of this morning, one fatality and five more injuries have been reported, and others may be unaccounted for. We hope and pray that these figures don’t increase. Several structures have been damaged or destroyed.

The Lincoln County Emergency Manager reported, ‘The part of the area that has been compromised, there is just nothing left.’ The fiery explosion was so large that it was picked up by weather satellites. And witnesses report that the smoke could be seen from my hometown of Louisville, almost 70 miles away.

Obviously the investigation is just beginning. My staff and I will continue to stay on top of this and be a resource for everyone affected. This morning, our prayers are with all the families whom this disaster has touched, and our gratitude is with all the first responders who rushed toward towering flames to protect their neighbors and communities.”

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JUNCTION CITY, Ky. (AP) — A regional gas pipeline ruptured early Thursday in Kentucky, causing a massive explosion that killed one person, hospitalized five others, destroyed railroad tracks and forced the evacuation of a nearby mobile home park, authorities said.

The 30 inch wide pipeline moves natural gas under high pressure, so the rupture at about 1 a.m. caused a tremendous amount of damage in the immediate area, authorities said. Firefighters were still working to douse the flames hours later, with trucks repeatedly refilling their tanks and returning to the scene.

County Emergency Management Director Don Gilliam said the flames reached about 300 feet in the air and could be seen throughout Lincoln County.

The explosion was so huge that it showed up on radar, according to a tweet from WKYT-TV meteorologist Chris Bailey.

Emergency managers said the rupture involved the Texas Eastern Transmission pipeline, which is owned and operated by Enbridge. The pipeline stretches more than 9,000 miles, from the Mexican border in Texas to New York City. A statement from the company based in Calgary, Canada, said “Enbridge is aware of and is responding to a rupture on the Texas Eastern system in Lincoln County.”

The blast also damaged railroad tracks, forcing 31 trains to back up overnight, authorities said.

Some 75 people in the Indian Camp trailer park in the Moreland community were evacuated to the New Hope Baptist Church in Stanford. Authorities said they don’t yet know if others are missing or unaccounted for.

Authorities urged people gathering for the multi-state 127 Yard Sale to stay away as crews worked to contain the damage.

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(This story was originally published on August 1, 2019)

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