Monday, June 7, 2010

Natural gas facility explodes in Johnson County killing three

Posted on June 7, 2010 at 3:14 PM
Updated today at 4:11 PM

JOHNSON COUNTY - A natural gas facility has exploded near Cleburne in Johnson County killing three, according to the Cleburne city manager.

At least 10 people are missing, Chester Nolen said.

A lot of people have been transported to hospital with burn injuries.

A massive fireball and a huge plume of smoke can be seen in the area.

“About 2:40 p.m., we heard a loud explosion, rumbling, almost like a tornado. It shook our entire house. The plume of smoke that came out or steam is heading this way, the wind is blowing it right over our house. We are trying to work out whether it is something we need to evacuate or not," said Laura Harlin in Johnson County.

“We don’t really smell anything at this point. It sounds like faraway thunder at this point,” she added. At 3:15 p.m., she said she could still hear the rumbling.

“There is a lot of onlooker traffic in the area,” said Hood County resident, Franklin Daniel.

People living in nearby Pecan Plantation have been told they don't need to evacuate.

A gas company is working to turn off a gas line. The underground line measures 36 inches.

"There's not a whole lot they can do, until they get that line turned off," Nolen said. "A lot is going to depend on where the main valves are that control that section of line. Obviously, what's in the line is going to have to burn off before they can get it shut off. So it may be late into this evening when they get the fire controlled."

Firefighters from eight departments are surrounding the fireball. Parkland Hospital is expecting patients to be transported to its specialist burn unit and are making preparations.

Dirt devils can be seen in the area.

Visit WFAA