MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. — The cause of a gas line explosion in Marshall County from early Thursday morning remained under investigation hours after the ensuing fire was out. Investigators from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and Trans-Canada remained on the scene Thursday.
The blast happened along Trans-Canada’s Midstream Pipeline around 4 a.m. Thursday. The fire cast a glow hundreds of feet into the air which was seen and heard for miles. When the sun rose, the immediate area of the explosion and fire revealed the results of the intense heat from the blaze.
“There were calls going into Ohio County, Wetzel County and across the river in Belmont and Monroe County, Ohio and also into Greene and Washington Counties in Pennsylvania,” said Marshall County Emergency Services Director Tom Hart. “It could be heard and seen for miles and a lot of people could actually feel the roar and said it was like an airplane going over their house.”
Fortunately, the explosion happened in a rural area where there were no homes or other structures. Although there were a few people in the vicinity of the blast, nobody was hurt. According to Hart, the line hadn’t been in service very long.
“There are parts of it that were still under construction,” said Hart. “It was a fairly new line and it was a 36 inch line.”
TransCanada was able to shut down the pressure on the line remotely which allowed the fire to burn out. Firefighters surrounded and secured the area, but since it was in a remote location and posed no threat to property or people, Hart said they simply stood back until the subsequent fire burned off.
“We were very fortunate there were no injuries involved in this incident and it was in a rural location and not in a heavily populated area in Marshall County,” Hart said.
TransCanada released the following statement Thursday afternoon:
As soon as the issue was identified, emergency response procedures were enacted and the segment of impacted pipeline was isolated shortly after. The fire was fully extinguished by approximately 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. There were no injuries involved with this incident.
The cause of this issue is not yet known. The site of the incident has been secured and we are beginning the process of working with applicable regulators to investigate, including the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.