UPDATE: Victim identified in Lincoln County explosion, fire
LINCOLN COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – An early-morning explosion in Lincoln County has left one woman dead and at least five other people injured.
The explosion happened around 1:30 a.m. in the Moreland community. The biggest impact was in the Indian Camp mobile home park.
Lincoln County Emergency Management says a 30-inch gas line ruptured, causing a explosion that sent flames shooting nearly 300-feet in the air and could be seen as far away as Lexington.
The Lincoln County Coroner’s Office says 58-year-old Lisa Denise Derringer, of Stanford, was killed as a result of the explosion. Five other people were injured.
According to Kentucky State Police Trooper Robert Purdy, one of the people injured was a Lincoln County Sheriff’s deputy, who helped rescue an elderly man and woman.
Purdy says all three have been hospitalized.
“Without him being there at the right time, we could have had more casualties than what we had,” Purdy says.
There were initially seven people emergency officials said were unaccounted for, but Purdy says all have been found.
Around 75 people were evacuated from the area. New Hope Baptist Church in Stanford opened its doors to evacuees and first responders. One of the evacuees, Denver Coulter, says he and his family barely made it out of their home.
“We couldn’t go out the front doors of the home because it was starting to melt and the home was filling up with smoke,” Coulter says. “We went out the door and just took off running.”
He says all they have left is the clothes on their backs.
At least six structures were destroyed, but that number could go up.
“The part of the area that has been compromised, there is just nothing left,” says Lincoln County Emergency Management Director Don Gilliam. “The residences that are still standing or damaged will be accessible. There doesn’t look like there is any in between back there. They are either destroyed or still standing.”
Once the hot spots cool down, crews are expected to go into the area to start sifting through the debris, according to Gilliam.
Railroad tracks were also damaged as a result of the explosion and fires, stopping more than 17 trains on the tracks. Norfolk Southern has crews on the scene repairing the tracks, according to Gilliam.
A stretch of U.S. 127 was initially closed because it was too dangerous for people to be in the area and first responders used it as a staging area near the blast site. The highway reopened by mid-afternoon.
Enbridge, which operates the gas line, is on the scene.
James McGuffey, the area manager for the company, says the gas line has been shut down.
There are two other lines in the area. McGuffery says pressure in both of those lines has been decreased.
The cause of the gas line rupture is still under investigation, which includes a crew from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).