Homes, Interstate Burn In W.V. Explosion, Gas Line Fire - KMSP-TV

Homes, Interstate Burn In W.V. Explosion, Gas Line Fire

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Emergency responders are at the scene of an apparent explosion and gas line fire in Sissonville, West Virginia.

There are reports of at least five buildings on fire at the scene. All are said to be residential.

Sissonville is located about 10 miles north of Charleston, the state capital.

No fatalities have been reported in the incident, which began around 12:40 p.m. Some people have been transported to hospitals for smoke inhalation.

Local schools were sheltering students in place until late afternoon, when officials said the county's board of education would dismiss elementary, high school and middle school students at 5:30 p.m.

Residents of a nearby nursing home are safe, but residents near the blast site were being urged to evacuate due to concerns of a secondary explosion.

A shelter has been established at Aldersgate Methodist Church in Sissonville.

About 1,200 people in Kanawha County were without power just before 5 p.m., down from the 8,000 who lost power earlier.

Kanawha County emergency management officials tweeted that multiple crews are at the scene and staging. One side of a pipe was turned off, and the gas company was working to completely shut off the flow about an hour after the explosion.

Flames were reported to be shooting several dozen feet into the sky and across Interstate 77. The heat of the fire was initially keeping responders back, and for a while there was uncertainty as to exactly where the blast site was.

Motorists are being advised to avoid the area. I-77 North is shut down from Tuppers Creek to Pocatalico. Emergency personnel are re-routing traffic to Charleston. And Route 21 is being limited to emergency vehicles.

West Virginia's Department of Transportation says about 800 feet on each side of I-77 was damaged by fire and will be replaced. Crews are being called in to mill the interstate down to the concrete and re-pave where the asphalt was burned.

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