A gas line explosion near Interstate 81 in western Virginia turned a typical Tuesday morning into an alarming spectacle for rural Virginians.
“First, it was just a typical drive, no traffic. And next thing you know, you see a mushroom cloud and then flames shooting up at least 50 feet in the air,” eyewitness Hunter Sellers stated, indicating the startling nature of the gas explosion incident.
TC Energy, the pipeline operator, confirmed the incident occurred around 8:40 a.m., noting a fire had been reported following a pressure drop in its Columbia Gas Transmission Pipeline.
No injuries were reported from the explosion, which occurred near Battlefield Road and Copp Road. The interstate was briefly closed but reopened once authorities contained the fire, which was so intense that it was felt from several miles away. “I could feel the heat and pressure from it,” shared Jordan Morgan, another eyewitness of the event.
Despite the fire’s intensity, no structures were threatened, according to Denise Vollmer, spokesperson for the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office.
The fire, while extinguished, left several brush fires in the surrounding area. As a precautionary measure, the affected pipeline section was shut down.
“Our primary focus is the safety of our people and communities and protecting the environment,” TC Energy stated, adding it was working with local authorities to investigate the cause of the explosion. In the meantime, the company established an approximately 1,650-foot response radius to ensure community safety and requested the public avoid the area.
This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor.