Officials let residents return home after Adair Co. gas line explosion


by ABC News/ WHAS11

Posted on February 13, 2014 at 6:10 AM

Updated Friday, Feb 14 at 12:42 AM

Gas line explosion

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ADAIR COUNTY, Ky. -- A gas line exploded Thursday morning, Feb. 13, in Adair County, Ky., setting nearby homes on fire and sending two people to the hospital, county EMA director Greg Thomas told ABC News.


The explosion destroyed two homes, along with barns and cars, leaving a crater in the ground and lots of debris.

The line is owned by Columbia Gulf Transmission, which released a statement around 9:00 Thursday morning.  The full statement can be read below.

Two people were transported to a local hospital with burns and have since been released.

All fires are out at this time in Knifley and residents were allowed to return to their homes. Officials said all of the gas is now out of the 30 inch pipe that exploded.

Officials said rocks that flew from the explosion were as large as small cars.

Adair County remains in a state of emergency for aid.

Area fire departments and emergency responders are lending support.  The gas line has been turned off and crews are waiting for the fire to burn out.  Authorities say several smaller explosions will be heard throughout the morning.

Michael Clinkscales, a student at Lindsey Wilson College, was with his fiancée Kaitlyn Davis when the explosion happened. Their photographs -- taken about 20 miles away from the site of the explosion -- show the night sky illuminated by bright flames.

Columbia Gulf Transmission said it could take months before the cause of this explosion is known. Federal investigators are headed to Adair County to investigate.

The cause of a gas pipe explosion in West Virginia, in 2012, is still under investigation by the NTSB. That line was also owned by Columbia Gulf Transmission.

This gas line does not run through Louisville, but it does run through Lexington, according to Columbia Gulf Transmission.


Statement from Columbia Gulf Transmission released Thursday morning:

At approximately 2:05 this morning, Columbia Gulf Transmission LLC operating teams detected a drop in pressure on the company’s Line 200 pipeline in Adair County, Ky.

Our operating crews immediately responded to the alert and determined that there was a rupture in the pipeline.  We activated our emergency response procedures and took steps to isolate the damaged portion of the pipeline. The flow of gas was stopped to the damaged pipeline shortly thereafter. 

Our trained response teams are working with emergency responders now to assure the safety and security of the area where the rupture occurred. We don’t yet know the cause but will be working with the appropriate authorities to conduct a thorough and complete investigation.

We know that there has been damage to homes and there are reports of injuries, as well as an evacuation of the surrounding community. A critical and immediate priority for our team is to work with local responders and to meet the immediate needs of our neighbors.

At this time, we are focused on making the area safe and working with federal, state and local authorities, but we will continue to provide updates when we have more information.