Natural gas pipeline explodes near Hesston

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Courtesy of Brad Sinkhorn Courtesy of Brad Sinkhorn
Courtesy "Andrea" Courtesy "Andrea"

Authorities say a natural gas pipeline exploded in a rural area in central Kansas on Friday, sending flames shooting more than 75 feet into the air.

Emergency crews responded at around 7:30 a.m. the explosion near West Dutch Avenue and Hertzler Road, about five miles west of Hesston. No injuries were reported.

Keli Wray had just gotten back from her morning run when she heard the explosion, which she describes, "Just like a big boom, and then some roaring."

"It was just shaking the car port," added Wray.

Wray knew it was bad and so did her husband, who just happens to be the captain of the fire department.

"We had two concerns: obviously, the explosion from the gas line, then the gas. We've got open country here with wheat fields surrounding the area, so the wind conditions obviously make that difficult to contain," said Captain Andy Wray, of the Hesston Fire/EMS.

The gas line belongs to Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline.

Investigators will be in Harvey County all day long, trying to figure out what caused this pipe line to explode, but it could be weeks before we learn those results.

"It's in the middle of a farm field, which is, if there's gonna be something like that, we don't want that to ever happen, but there's nobody injured right now, and there's nobody at risk right now," said company spokesman Rob Southard.

Southard says everyone is safe and that the gas supply had been shut off. Crews waited until the excess gas in the line burned off about three hours later. 

Southard said there's no word on the cause of the fire or whether gas service was affected. There was no excavation work being done in the area beforehand.

Additional information was not immediately available. KAKE News has a crew at the scene. Check back for updates.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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