(August 1, 2019) A gas explosion in Moreland, Kentucky left one person dead and set at least six homes on fire.
Unfortunately, Lisa Denise Derringer, 58, was killed in the accident, according to Lincoln County Coroner, Farris Marcum. There were five other injuries.
Authorities still have to determine the exact cause, but the explosion was believed to have stemmed from a 30-inch gas transmission pipeline. “The part of the area that has been compromised — there’s just nothing left,” said Dan Gilliam, director of Lincoln County Emergency Management.
The area affected by the explosion was so large, the siding of a home nearly 400 to 500 feet away. The entire area was blown away, one person at the scene even comparing it to the surface of Mars. The grass and trees no longer remain.
Sofia Nunez said she was home at the time of the gas explosion. She told CNN it sounded like a natural disaster. “There was a loud noise and it sounded like a tornado was outside our house,” she said.
“When you stepped outside you could hear the flames and feel the heat. It shook the house for nearly 30 minutes after the flames appeared and neighbors’ windows were shattered.”
Enbridge Gas, which owns the Texas Eastern Pipeline, said in a statement the company was trying to secure the scene. A spokesperson fro the company said:
“Our teams are coordinating with first responders to secure the site. We have isolated the affected line and are working closely with emergency responders to manage the situation.”
The skyline was illuminated with flames from the deadly explosion. One Twitter user posted a video which shows the scene from a safe distance.
@LEX18News Fire in Junction City pic.twitter.com/i3SboLvbpw
— Charlemagne ⚜️ (@Charlie_Lynch04) August 1, 2019
One of the women injured during the blast said she felt unsafe living near the natural gas pipeline. Jodie Coulter felt there was unusual activity in the area, and even attempted to contact authorities to report a possible gas leak.
Though she lived near railroad tracks, there was an odd shaking twice in the neighborhood roughly ten days before the explosion.
“I think that maybe there was something going on underground,” she said in an interview with the Herald Leader.
Additionally, she said her dog kept sniffing around where the pipe was located. This prompted her to do a Google search of the pipeline company to report the issue. She contacted local police but believes it may have been for the wrong department, which doesn’t have jurisdiction in the area.
Authorities will be investigating the cause of the accident, but corrosion may be a contributing factor. The natural gas pipeline that ruptured was installed in 1957. Carrying more than 1.8 million cubic feed of natural gas per day, it runs from the states of Ohio to Mississippi.
The Natural Transportation Safety Board said corrosion in pipes in Kentucky has been a factor in the past. In 1985, an explosion in Metcalfe County killed five people. A year later, in Garrard County, another explosion injured six people.
Enbridge bought Texas Eastern, who originally owned those lines. And Enbridge is the company that owns the pipe involved in the blast last week.
The NTSB will be conducting the investigation and issue a probable cause of the pipeline blast. However, it could take anywhere from 12 to 18 months to complete.
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