5 NEWS UPDATE: Gas Line Explosion Torches Homes, Roads In Sissonville
Written by Your 5News Team
Last updated on December 12, 2012 @ 9:57AM
Created on December 12, 2012 @ 2:02PM
Photo: CBS News
 
5 News Update (9:30 AM)
 
According to the WV Department of Transportation, Interstate 77 is now back open to traffic.
 
5 News Update (11:00 PM)
 
According to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, there are no serious injuries and no deaths after that gas line exploded near Sissonville on Tuesday.
 
The blast and the flames that followed destroyed four homes, and damaged five more. 
 
The fire also significantly damaged a section of Interstate 77 in Kanawha County.  Officials say the damage is the length of at least a football field on both sides of the highway.  The fire burned off the asphalt, and the green paint from the road sign on the side of the highway.  As we previously reported, I-77 is shut down from the I-79 interchange, and will stay that way until at least Wednesday evening while crews make repairs. 
 
On top of all the damage, it was reported Tuesday evening that Appalachian Power had more than 1,000 customers without power as the fire destroyed utility lines and utility poles.
 
5 News Update (5:00 p.m.):
 
A major gas well line explosion in Sissonville consumed five homes and shut down a stretch of I-77. We have been able to confirm that there are no deaths.
 
Officials said the flames shot up to 50 to 75 feet high before the fire was put out around 2:00 Tuesday afternoon. We were hearing reports that some homes were leveled, but Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said in a press conference that all residents were luckily out of their homes at the time of the blast. Several people were treated for smoke inhalation, and a shelter was set up at Sissonville High School.
 
Sissonville Fire Chief Tim Gooch said patients at a nursing home not far from the blast are safe. Gooch said all of the burning structures appear to be residential. The blast happened around 12:30 p.m. near the Lanham Compression Station. State Police said an investigation into the cause of the explosion is still ongoing and very preliminary. Crews with Columbia Gas are working to shut off the pipeline to control the fire. We're also told students at nearby schools were never in any danger
 
The fire burned off the asphalt on I-77. Right now I-77 is shutdown from the I-79 interchange. Transportation secretary Paul Mattox told Metronews the damage is about a football field's length on both sides of the highway. Work to fix the road will likely take an entire day so expect that road to be closed until those repairs have been made.
 
5 News Update (3:00 p.m.):
 
SISSONVILLE, W.Va. (AP) - A major gas line has exploded in West Virginia, burning five homes and shutting down a stretch of Interstate 77 in Sissonville.
 
Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper says flames shot 50 to 75 feet high before the fire was put out around 2 p.m. on Tuesday. He says it's not yet clear whether anyone has been hurt.
 
Sissonville Fire Chief Tim Gooch says patients at a nursing home not far from the blast near Sissonville are safe.
 
Gooch says all the burning structures appear to be residential. He says the heat and fire were so intense that firefighters couldn't immediately get close.
 
State Police Sgt. Michael Baylous says the blast occurred about 12:40 p.m. Tuesday. Crews were working to shut off the pipeline.
 
5 News Update (2:30 p.m.):
 
SISSONVILLE, W.Va. (AP) - Five homes are burning and part of Interstate 77 is shut down in both directions near Sissonville after a major gas line explosion.
 
Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper says flames are shooting 50-75 feet high. He says it's not yet clear whether anyone has been hurt.
 
Sissonville Fire Chief Tim Gooch says a nursing home is less than a mile from the site of the blast, but the patients are safe. He says they're sending paramedics in just to be sure.
 
Gooch says all the burning structures appear to be residential. He says the heat and fire is so intense that firefighters can't get close.
 
Sgt. Michael Baylous says the blast occurred about 12:40 p.m. Tuesday.
 
Kanawha County emergency officials said crews are working to shut off the pipeline.
 
Original Story (2:00 p.m.):
 
SISSONVILLE, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia State Police say several structures are on fire and about a mile of Interstate 77 is shut down in both directions near Sissonville after a major gas explosion.
 
Sgt. Michael Baylous says it's unclear whether anyone has been hurt.
 
The explosion occurred around 12:40 p.m. Tuesday, and firefighters and other first responders were rushing to the scene. Kanawha County emergency officials said crews are working to shut off the pipeline.
 
Baylous said details are sketchy, but there is a nursing home near the site of the explosion along Tupper's Creek.
 
Sissonville is about 5 miles north of Charleston.
 

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