UPDATE: Investigation into pipeline explosion could take months

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SUMMERFIELD, Ohio (WTAP) - WTAP now has more details about a gas line rupture and fire that was in Noble County Monday morning.

Firefighters extinguish the natural gas pipeline fire in Noble Co., Ohio on Jan. 21, 2019.

A news release from the Noble County EMA&HS says the gas line fire injured two residents. They were treated and released from a local hospital.

The gas line fine damaged three homes, two barns, and an outbuilding.
The company that owns the line is called Enbridge. Its two other lines running with that line have been depressurized and shut down to make sure the site is safe to allow regulators to begin an investigation.

It will likely take months to finish. Smithberger Road is closed and will stay that way indefinitely due to road damage. Officials want you to avoid that area.

The entire press release is attached to this article.


This is the press release sent from Enbridge Pipeline Monday night, regarding the natural gas pipeline fire in Noble County, Ohio:

"At 10:40 a.m. this morning, a gas line ruptured and sent flames into the air on Smithberger Road outside of Summerfield, Ohio. The Noble County Sheriff’s Office responded to several reports trying to narrow down the exact location as fire departments responded to the area. Caldwell VFD, Summerfield VFD, and Lewisville VFD worked with companies in the area to identify the impacted line. It was a 30” natural gas line that had been in that location for several years currently owned by Enbridge. They spent several hours fighting secondary fires including three homes and were able to clear the scene by approximately 5:00 pm. United Ambulance treated and transported one (1) injured resident from the scene to a local hospital where that resident received treatment for minor burns. Currently, Smithberger Road is closed due to road damage and the need to secure the area for safety and continued assessment in the daylight tomorrow. Please avoid that area as you will not be admitted onto Smithberger Road.

The Noble County Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security (NCEMAHS) has made contact with the families and assured they did have a housing arrangement for this evening. The American Red Cross is on standby to provide services to the families as needed. Regulators and State level emergency response teams will be at the site tomorrow to begin their work to identify the cause, monitor repairs and evaluate environmental impacts. Those agencies include the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, and the State Fire Marshall’s Office. Additional questions regarding the operation and status of the pipeline can be directed to Enbridge’s media center at 1-888-992-0997. Response information can be directed to NCEMAHS at 730-732-7387."


UPDATE 1/21/19 4:50 p.m.

According to Noble County EMAHS director Chasity Schmelzenbach, all fires have been extinguished and fire crews returned to their stations.

One person suffered minor injuries and was transported to a local hospital.

The road closures are now setup at Horton Hollow and Bean Ridge Road as well as Smithberger and Bean Ridge Road.

"The flames were definitely visible from I-77, so about 15 miles away," Schmelzenbach said.

The cause of the blast remains under investigation.


UPDATE: 1/21/2019, 4:00 p.m.

Emergency officials in Noble County, Ohio say a natural gas pipeline explosion Monday morning on Smithberger Road injured one person, damaged three homes and forced several road closures in the area.

The Noble County Emergency Management Agency released this statement about the natural gas pipeline explosion:

"At 10:40 am this morning a gas line ruptured and sent flames into the air on Smithberger Road outside of Summerfield, Ohio. The Noble County Sheriff’s Office responded to several reports trying to narrow down the exact location as fire departments responded to the area.

Caldwell VFD, Summerfield VFD and Lewisville VFD are on scene and fighting secondary fires including three homes. United Ambulance was called to treat and transport one (1) injured person.

Currently, road closures are at State Route 78 and Bean Ridge and State Route 724 and Smithberger Road. Please avoid that area if possible.

The Noble County Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security (NCEMAHS) has coordinated with the American Red Cross to assist the homeowners as well as coordinated with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Ohio Emergency Management Agency, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, and State Fire Marshall’s Office regarding the incident.

The pipeline is owned by Enbridge and they have response crews on the scene working with responders to ensure the pipeline valves are shut and the area is stable.

Additional questions regarding the operation and status of the pipeline can be directed to Enbridge’s media center at 1-888-992-0997.

Response information can be directed to NCEMAHS at 730-732-7387."


ORIGINAL STORY: 1/21/2019, 11:05 a.m.

A pipeline-related fire in Noble County continued to burn late Monday morning, authorities said.

The Noble County Emergency Management Association confirmed that firefighting crews were at the scene of a "fire related to a pipeline of some sort" shortly after 11 a.m.

An EMA spokeswoman said there were no injuries reported and firefighters were attempting to bring the blaze under control.

The Noble County sheriff's office confirmed deputies were responding but could not provide additional details.

Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks said someone from the community of Germantown called his office to report hearing an explosion.

Another person who lives south of Dexter City in Noble County contacted WTAP and said an explosion shook their house about 11 a.m. Monday.

We'll update this story on WTAP.com and on WTAP News at 5, 6 and 11, as more details become available.



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