200 school children were evacuated after a massive pipeline explosion in the small Dallas, Texas suburb of Milford. Fortunately no injuries have been reported, according to the LA Times. Milford only has about 700 residents and is 40 miles south of Dallas. The explosion rocked the tiny town mid-morning at a drilling site, said the Ellis County Sheriff’s office.
All workers were accounted for after the explosion that sent flames erupting into the air. The pipeline is owned by Chevron Corp., according to Reuters. The explosion was caused by a construction crew that accidentally drilled into a 10-inch liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) line, said Tom Hemrick, director of Hill County Emergency Management.
Homes within a mile radius around the explosion were also asked to evacuate due to fumes and smoke. Those residents were sent to a concrete gym in the neighboring town of Italy.
“The fire is definitely getting smaller,” Hemrick said of the inferno in an open field near Milford. “We’re not going to send anyone else in there with the danger,” Hemrick said, “The people with the gas lines have told us it’s going to burn for another 24 hours. They’ve shut it off at one end and have evacuated folks at the other end.”
Another 14-inch LPG line runs just a few feet from the one that blew up. The crew still had liquified petroleum flowing in that line, because stopping it would increase the risk of a secondary explosion, Hemrick assured. “It is still flowing because the flow cools the line.”
Joe Hubbard, a spokesman for the EPA regional office in Dallas, said, “EPA Emergency Response personnel are assisting with the response efforts to determine environmental effects of the explosion and provide additional support as requested.”
In a statement, Chevron said, “Chevron has initiated its emergency response procedures and is currently responding to the incident. Chevron’s primary concern at this point is to ensure the safety of its employees and the surrounding community. As soon as there are further details, they will be made available.”
Luckily, the explosion in Milford happened in a mostly rural area, unlike the explosion in West, Texas that happened in April and killed 15, and injured 160. The incredible response time and smooth procedure can be attributed to the lessons learned from West. “We learned a lot from West. It went by the book, everybody was accountable and we knew who was here. Right now it’s really just a waiting game.”, Hemrick said. If there ever was a silver lining, that would be it.
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