August 1, 2019 / 9:57 AM / 3 months ago

REFILE-UPDATE 3-Gas explosion in rural Kentucky kills one, ignites homes

(Refiles to fix typo in ‘Lexington’ in paragraph 6)

By Alex Dobuzinskis

Aug 1 (Reuters) - A gas line explosion early on Thursday in a residential community in rural Kentucky sent up a ball of flame that could be seen for miles, killing one person and setting several houses on fire, a local sheriff said.

The explosion in Moreland, a community about 40 miles (65 km) south of Lexington, was on a natural gas pipeline operated by the firm Enbridge Inc, the company said in a statement.

A woman who was killed in the explosion was found outside her home, Lincoln County Sheriff Curt Folger said, and initial indications were that one else was injured.

“We’re trying to get a head count,” Folger added.

About five homes caught fire and firefighters worked to extinguish those blazes, Folger said.

Flames from the blast rose about 300 feet (100 metres) in the air, Lexington television station WKYT reported, citing emergency managers. The WKYT meteorologist said the fire showed up on radar, according to the station.

Sue Routin, a resident in the area, told Lexington television station Lex 18, “It woke us up and it was just a big roar and it was fire going up into the sky as far as you could see.”

The pipeline was 30 inches (76 cm) in diameter, Folger said, and it was shut off after the blast, which occurred shortly after midnight local time.

The pipeline is part of Enbridge’s Texas Eastern system, the company said. The system connects Texas and the U.S. Gulf Coast with states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, according to the company’s website.

Enbridge said it was working with emergency responders.

The explosion followed another fatal incident on Wednesday at an oil and gas site in Colorado, north of Denver.

Firefighters responding to a fire at an oil tank found an unresponsive man on top of the tank, at the site just outside the community of Windsor, said Windsor Severance Fire Rescue Chief Kris Kazian. The victim was later pronounced dead.

The site was operated by Denver-based firm Great Western Oil & Gas Co. A representative for the company could not immediately be reached for comment. (Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles, additional reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver and Arpan Varghese and Swati Verma in Bengaluru Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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