SISSONVILLE W. Va. (KDKA) – A major gas line explosion in West Virginia destroyed four homes and damaged several others.
According to officials, the incident happened in Sissonville around 1 p.m.
The flames were so intense that guardrails melted and some of the pavement on Interstate 77 disintegrated.
The fire was massive with flames shooting 80 to 90 feet in the air after a 20-inch natural gas line exploded.
People from all over the area felt the blast.
“It felt like a bunch of planes were flying over the house. The windows started shaking, the ground was shaking. I went outside and the noise just continued and continued,” Justin Carpenter said.
“The ornaments on the tree – Christmas – my pictures rattled and everything. It sound like, I mean, almost like the end of the world like turbine engines,” Rita Cummings said.
When the inferno finally stopped and firefighters were able to get close to the scene, they found four homes destroyed and several others damaged.
Fortunately, many people were at work, but one homeowner asked Cummings to use her phone.
“She had called her son and said their house – she thought their house had been hit by a plane – told her son their house was gone,” Cummings said.
West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin described the highway damage as being extensive.
“Interstate 77 has been extensively damaged about an 800-foot section of the highway has been completely baked,” Gov. Tomblin said.
The road surface didn’t melt, but it did crumble and it is unclear how long it’ll be closed.
While some people lost everything they own, no one lost their life and people in town said they’ll get through this together.
Contractors are working to repair the highway and are hoping to reopen it Wednesday night.
The governor said walking across it was like walking on a volcano and that the asphalt had been turned to cinders.
In the meantime, investigators are moving in to examine the line to figure out what caused the explosion.
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