It looked like a scene out of a movie, witnesses said. The ground started shaking and then a explosion after a gas pipeline exploded in the small community of Knifley.
According to Adair County Emergency Management officials, it all unfolded around 2 a.m. Thursday. The explosion along KY-76, was caused by a ruptured in the pipeline. Flames could be seen shooting over 500-feet in the air and injured two people.
Firefighters and emergency management officials from multiple counties were rushed to the scene as homes and brush became engulfed in flames. They worked quickly to evacuate about 150 people in the area.
When fire responders were able to get closer to the source of the fire, they discovered a crater in the ground that was 60 feet deep by 50 feet wide.
The pipeline, referred to as Line 200, is operated by Columbia Gulf Transmission Company, and according to a statement released by them the ruptured portion was isolated and shut down by 3 a.m.
The parent company, NiSource, said the line carries natural gas from the gulf to New York City. They didn’t believe the rupture wouldn’t limit the supply of natural gas, because crews were able to re-route gas from other pipelines to cover the shortage.
After gas crews burned off the remaining natural gas in the pipeline, the evacuation order was lifted, allowing the 150 to return home. The two people injured were treated and released from an area hospital.
This isn't the first time that this same pipeline, Line 200, has ruptured. In January of 2012, a different section of the pipeline ruptured in Estill County. That explosion sent flames into the air and evacuating about 30 families. No one was injured in that pipeline explosion.
Officials tell ABC 36, KY-76 will be closed for the foreseeable future while crews investigate. They said. it could be months before investigators can find the cause of the rupture.