Massive Gas Line Explosion, Fire Prompt Evacuations In Pennsylvania
CENTER TOWNSHIP, PA. (KDKA) — A massive gas line explosion rocked Beaver County early Monday, sending a huge fire ball into the sky and prompting the evacuation of more than two dozen homes.
The explosion was first reported at 4:54 a.m. in the area of Ivy Lane in Center Township. Police shut down the intersection of Broadhead Road and Ivy Lane because of the incident.
WATCH: Beaver County Emergency Officials Hold News Conference —
The line is owned and operated by Energy Transfer. They released this statement on Monday morning, saying they don’t yet know the cause of the explosion, but are doing a full investigation:
“We did experience an incident this morning on a 24-inch natural gas gathering line in Beaver County, Pa. There were no injuries. This incident, which occurred at approximately 5 a.m. eastern time was detected by our monitoring system, which triggered the closing of valves to isolate the line. By around 7 a.m., the fire on the pipeline had extinguished itself.
There were evacuations from several homes in the area. All the appropriate regulatory notifications have been made. We do not know the cause of the incident at this time; however, a thorough investigation will be conducted.”
According to Center Township Police Chief Barry Kramer, about 25-30 homes in the area were evacuated. There were some other voluntary evacuations.
“Some of those evacuees required medical assistance, not because of injuries, but because of medical conditions,” said Chief Kramer.
No injuries were reported related to the explosion.
Chief Kramer says the valves were shut off just before 6 a.m. However, the explosion caused numerous issues like the fire, which needed time to burn out.
“There were two isolation valves, about 15 miles apart, one on the Center Township side and one going towards Burgettstown. At about 5:52, that was shut off, but it took time to burn the gas that was remaining in the line out,” said Chief Kramer.
The explosion also caused high-tension power lines to fall down, pulling down towers with it, and blocking Bunker Hill Road.
“We have Penn Power, Duquesne Light, First Energy on scene to evaluate de-energizing those lines and to make it safe so we can get those lines removed and reopen that highway,” Chief Kramer said.
He also said state police were called in because some of the lines fell onto 376.
Peoples Gas was also on the scene. They were inspecting all their lines in the area, but were not directly impacted.
Meanwhile, many of the evacuees were taken to the Center Township fire hall. The Red Cross is assisting there with food and other supplies.
The Central Valley School District has canceled all classes for Monday.
For anyone with questions or property damage related to the explosion and fire, Chief Kramer says Energy Transfer has set up a hotline at 1-800-445-5846.