The rupture involved the Texas Eastern Transmission pipeline, which is owned and operated by Calgary, Canada-based Enbridge. A statement from the company said, “Enbridge is aware of and is responding to a rupture on the Texas Eastern system in Lincoln County,” reports the Courier-Journal.
Enbridge went on to say: “Our first concern is for those impacted by this incident and ensuring the safety of the community. 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. We will provide more information as it becomes available.”
The explosion occurred at about 1 a.m. and resulted in a tremendous amount of damage in the area near Bowens Loop Road between Junction City and Hustonville approximately 40 miles southeast of Lexington. The explosion was so huge it registered on radar according to a tweet from WKYT-TV meteorologist Chris Bailey.
Lincoln County Emergency Management Director Don Gilliam said some structures were completely consumed by the 300-foot high flames and five to seven people were unaccounted for when firefighters extinguished the flames hours later.
The pipeline moves natural gas under high pressure, stretching more than 9,000 miles from the Mexican border in Texas to New York City.
Lincoln County Middle School Weather Bug webcam…about 10 miles away from the explosion…caught the fire. NkGxMsinTA
— NWS Louisville (@NWSLouisville) August 1, 2019
“The part of the area that has been compromised, there’s just nothing left,” Gilliam said when asked whether residents might return to their trailer homes. “The residences that are still standing or damaged will be accessible. There doesn’t really look like there’s any in-between back there. They’re either destroyed or they’re still standing.”
Naomi Hayes lives within a mile of the blast and she felt her home shake and saw the light from the blaze outside her window. “It was so bright that it was like daylight outside, just with an orange tint,” she said, according to CBC Canada.
“When we went out the door, we could see the flames. They were so high and so bright … and the noise was insane,” she said about the burning fire. “It was a roar, like a monster roar. We had to yell to talk to each other. That’s how deafening it was.”