Fire EMS, Firefighting

Gas Line Explosion in West Virginia Sets Five Homes on Fire

At least five homes went up in flames and a badly burned section of Interstate 77 in West Virginia was closed after a natural gas line exploded in an hour-long inferno, reports the Associated Press.

No injuries were immediately reported, but firefighters had just begun to reach damaged structures late in Tuesday afternoon after the intense flames kept them at bay for several hours.

Several people were treated for smoke inhalation, and a shelter was set up.

State Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Baylous said a slight risk of a secondary explosion remained as long as the gas continued to leak, but people were told to stay inside their homes rather than evacuate. The explosion occurred near Sissonville just before 1 p.m.

Sissonville Fire Chief Tim Gooch said a nursing home is less than a mile from the site of the blast, but the patients are safe. Paramedics were sent to check on them as a precaution.

“I thought possibly (it was) a plane crash,” said Trevor Goins, who immediately went outside with several neighbors. “It was so loud it sounded like a turbine engine. You almost had to put your hands over your ears.”

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