Four homes have been destroyed and at least five others have been damaged, according to county leaders.
In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said 2-5 people have been taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. Emergency crews say that there are no reported fatalities and that everyone has been accounted for, according to Tomblin.
Tomblin says the area has been evacuated within 1000 feet of the explosion site.
“After looking at the damage, I’m grateful for the quick action of our local and state emergency responders who immediately called for a shelter in place,” Gov. Tomblin said.
According to a news release from NiSource, there was an incident in the vicinity of the Columbia Gas Transmission Lanham Compressor Station.
“Our first priority is the safety of the community and our employees,” Mike Banas, Communications Manager stateed. “The site where the incident occurred has been secured and the fire - on a 20-inch transmission line - has been contained.”
A fiber optic line has also been damaged affecting phone lines in several states, according to Commissioner Carper.
Right now, 16-hundred people are without power, but AEP is bringing in a transformer to help restore power. A shelter has been set up at Aldersgate United Methodist Church is Sissonville to provide food and shelter to families who can’t get home.
The flames shot across Interstate 77, severely damaging the road. Tomblin says an 800-foot section of the interstate was damaged during the blast.
I-77 from Charleston split to Pocatalico/Sissonville exit will remain closed through the night, but is expected to reopen Wednesday afternoon.
WVDOT reports 325 feet of each side of I-77 was damaged.
According to WVDOT, crews will mill down to the concrete and repave the road. President Carper reports emergency crews have been brought in to help fix the road.