SUMMERFIELD, OHIO — Authorities say a gas line that exploded Monday injured one person and set fire to nearby homes and the surrounding terrain in rural Noble County.
The pipeline is owned by Enbridge Inc., a Canadian multinational energy transportation company that, along with Detroit-based DTE Energy, is a backer of the Nexus Pipeline that crosses Northeast Ohio.
“It was a 30-inch line that has been in that location for several years,” said the Noble County Emergency Management Agency in a news release. The injured resident was taken to a local hospital and treated for minor burns.”
Several fire departments responded to the Monday morning blast and spent several hours fighting secondary fires including three homes, authorities said.
No firefighters were injured battling the fires.
The Noble County EMA and Office of Homeland Security contacted the families affected families to ensure they had housing arrangements for the night Monday.
The American Red Cross also was on standby to provide needed services for the families.
Regulators and state-level emergency response teams were scheduled to visit the site Tuesday to begin their work to identify the cause of the explosion that was felt for miles around the scene. A resident near Caldwell reported pictures fell from the wall as a result of the explosion.
“Our house shook so bad things came off the walls,” Trina Moore said. “It shook for about 15 seconds, but it felt like forever. All of the neighbors ran outside.”
Scanner traffic from emergency responders in Noble County indicated the ground was shaking after the explosion.
Officials will monitor repairs and evaluate the environmental impact.
The agencies expected to visit the site include the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and State Fire Marshal’s Office.
Flames from the fire in the gas line were estimated to be 80 feet high, according to a Noble County sheriff’s sergeant.
Matt Hammond, executive vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, said in a prepared statement, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time. We are joining with industry partners to help the family and ensure their immediate needs are being met. ... The industry is waiting on the results of the pending investigation for the cause of this incident.”
Opponents of fracked gas pipelines expressed concern regarding safety after the recent gas line explosions in Noble County and the surrounding region.
“Enough is enough; it’s time that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the state of Ohio put the health and safety of people before the corporate profits,” said Teresa Mills of the Buckeye Environmental Network. “This makes five pipeline explosions in the region in two years,” added Cheryl Johncox, organizer with the Sierra Club. “What do local residents have to do to feel safe? An elementary schooler was injured in this explosion and three families lost everything.”
In a statement following the explosion, Enbridge officials said, “Our first concern is for the safety of the community and our employees. We have activated our emergency response plan and are cooperating with authorities in our response. There was a fire, which has been contained, and residents within the proximity of the incident have been evacuated.
“This section of pipe is 30 inches in diameter and was built in 1952-53. An in-line inspection of the line was performed in 2012, and no remediation was needed.”