UPDATED: Gas Pipeline Explodes In Adair County

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UPDATED 6:30 PM -- The town of Knifley has a population of about 500 people. Residents say it's usually quiet. That was until Thursday, when they got the wake up call of a lifetime.

Courtesy Devin Scott Morris

"It looked like a sunrise. It was very visible from Green County. Which is about 20 miles," said Green County Emergency Management Director, Bill Matney.

The explosion happened around 1 a.m. It was caused by a pipeline leak that ignited, leaving 2 homes demolished, 2 people being treated and released from the hospital, and a crater that reached 60 feet deep and 50 feet wide.

"There were two agricultural barns and forest fires going on in the hill sides. There were four to six automobiles on fire," added Adair County Emergency Management Director, Greg Thomas.

Those who live near the center of the blast said the initial sound and flash had them fearing for their lives.

"When a storm is coming up you cannot hear the thunder. When it's over top of it you can. In this house that roar was completely in every room. It was extremely loud," said Tammy Burton, who witnessed the fire.

Adding to that noise, Burton said what sounded like a hailstorm banged on her roof for minutes after the blast, but it wasn't precipitation. It was falling rock that had shot from underground at the site one mile away.

After a few hours, all of the fires were put out and the area was deemed stable. The Columbia Pipeline Group, who owns the line that burst, said they're still investigating what may have caused the entire event.

Shortly after the blast, 20 homes were evacuated. All of those people were allowed to return to their houses just a few hours later.

UPDATED 9:26 AM -- Kentucky State Police are asking all motorists and community people to avoid the Knifley area of KY 76 in Adair County from Baker’s Store to Eastridge Cemetery Road, this portion of the roadway will be closed indefinitely.

UPDATE 9:16 AM -- While we regret that two individuals were injured this morning as a result of our ruptured pipeline, we are pleased to report that both have been released from the hospital. We remain thankful that there were no further injuries. Our staff is on site and speaking with those individuals, as well as reaching out to the local Red Cross, to offer any assistance that would help the community during this time.

Columbia is and remains committed to our neighbors in Kentucky.

At this time, there is no impact to commercial operations on Columbia Gulf and no impact to Columbia Gas Transmission. For additional information, please visit the company website and our Informational Postings.

We would like to continue to thank all of the local responders, including the volunteer fire department, the state fire marshal, local and state police and all other agencies involved. We appreciate the continued support and assistance with securing our site and ensuring the safety of local residents and employees.

UPDATE 7:30 AM -- A gas line owned by Columbia Gulf Transmission has exploded in a town of about 500 people in Adair County.

Kentucky State Police say the explosion happened around 1:30 Thursday morning in Knifley, creating a crater 60 feet deep and 50 feet wide.

Emergency Management says three homes, two barns, and four cars were on fire.

Right now a lot of forest is on fire as well and ash is falling from the sky.

Two people were taken to the hospital, one for burns and one for evaluation.

Everyone in the area is accounted for but 20 homes were evacuated.

Witnesses say the explosion was seen as far away as Russell Springs, and the shock was felt for miles.

UPDATE 5:10 AM -- According to Adair County Emergency Management officials, the fire is under control and everyone has been accounted for. The gas company is now on the scene.

UPDATE 3:20 AM -- Greg Thomas, the Adair County Emergency Management Director, says 3 houses, 2 barns, and 4 cars are on fire.

He also says one person has been taken to the Westlake Regional Hospital, but their injuries are not known.

The gas line is owned by Columbia Gulf Transmission.

ADAIR COUNTY, Ky. (WBKO) -- Kentucky State Police have confirmed there has been a gas line explosion in the Knifley community.

We have unconfirmed reports that homes are on fire at this time.

Witnesses say the explosion and fire could been seen as far away as Russell Springs, and the shock was felt for miles.

The Adair County Judge Executive says they are evacuating homes at this time.

We have a reporter on the way and we will bring you updates as they become available.

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