Gas line explosion causes evacuations in Pennsylvania

BEAVER COUNTY, PA (RNN) - A gas line explosion in Pennsylvania on Monday lit up the sky, and officials said people were evacuated, WTAE reported.

No one was injured in the blast, and about 30 homes were evacuated within about a mile of the explosion site.

A home and two garages burned in the blast, including several vehicles, Center Township Police Chief Barry D. Kramer said in a morning news conference.

Emergency officials said the explosion occurred at around 4:54 a.m. in Center Township in Beaver County, which is northeast of Pittsburgh, WPXI reported.

The gas line was "over the hill from the residential neighborhood," Kramer said.

The Energy Transfer natural gas line valves were shut off at around 5:52 a.m., and the product in those lines are burning out.

Kramer said it was "probably about one of the largest fires I’ve ever seen."

People in the area said they were woken up by a large boom before the sky filled with orange flames.

Ben Regney told WPXI on its Facebook page that he could feel the heat from the blast from the interstate exit and said, "The only way to describe the sky afterward was apocalyptic."

The 30 or so people who fled their homes were housed at Fire Hall One as a precaution, Kramer said, and some people with medical conditions needed help evacuating.

In addition to the fire, the blast caused power lines in the area to fall, including across roadways.

Central Valley School District has canceled all classes Monday because of the blast, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said. 

An investigation into the cause of the explosion is underway. A spokeswoman for Energy Transfer said officials believe a landslide might have been a factor.

Energy Transfer, a Dallas-based pipeline company, manages more than 71,000 miles of natural gas, natural gas liquids, refined products and crude oil pipelines through its partnerships.

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