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Pipeline ruptures in rural Bowling Green

Posted on Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at 8:33 am

pipeline-1By Amy Patterson
Bowling Green Times

A natural gas pipeline rupture resulted in  around 30 area homes being evacuated last week.
Authorities state they had to evacuate homes within a three-mile radius of the break.
The rupture occurred shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29. Pike County Sheriff Stephen Korte said his office received the first call around 5:10 p.m.
“The caller was close and recognized it as a pipeline breach,” Korte said.
The rupture happened Pike County Road 43, about five miles northwest of Bowling Green.
Authorities reported no injuries, fire, or “explosion,” as some area residents had sited.
“There was not a fire but is a potential with a gas leak,” Sheriff Korte said.
Aaron Walkley, who owns a home directly across the road from the break, says he witnessed it happen and was the first to alert authorities.
“It was a loud boom, like someone dropped a bomb right in front of me. The percussion of it knocked me onto my back,” he told the Times. “When I got up all I could see was gas shooting as far as you could see in the sky. The noise was unbearable – my ears rang until Friday night.
“As soon as I realized what was going on I got out of there and called 911, then started going to other houses to start evacuating people.”
Those closest to the break self-evacuated,  the Sheriff explained, while others were notified by emergency personnel. Residents were allowed to return to their homes around midnight.
While the initial “boom” was heard for miles, Sheriff Korte says only approximately 30 homes had to be evacuated and damage was limited to one nearby residence, although many residents in the area reported no or low water pressure.
“The only side effect I am aware was the broken water line and damage to one home,” Korte said.
Walkley says, fortunately, the effects on his home were few.
“I was out of water until Saturday night,” he told the Times. “I had a little smell in the house for about a day and had some debris around my house.”
Local authorities responding to the incident were the Bowling Green Rural, Frankford, Curryville and Eolia fire departments, MO DNR, MO Highway Patrol, and Pike County Emergency Management Director Al Murray.
After the section of line was shut off, the rupture was sealed, and the remaining gas was allowed to “bleed out.”
Following their being notified and arrival from the Kansas City area, workers from Tallgrass Energy, the company who owns the pipeline, took over.