Gas line explodes in Washington Parish

Source: Cindy Tate (Eyewitness)/WWL-TV
Source: Cindy Tate (Eyewitness)/WWL-TV
Site of the explosion (Source: WWL-TV)
Site of the explosion (Source: WWL-TV)
Siding of trailer melted during explosion (Source: WWL-TV)
Siding of trailer melted during explosion (Source: WWL-TV)

ISABEL, LA (WAFB, WWL-TV) - There was a gas line explosion early Tuesday morning, according to Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal.

It happened at the Florida Gas Transmission on Lee Road near Franklinton a little before 5:30 a.m.

According to the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, the LSP/DEQ Hazmat report indicated the suspected cause of the explosion was a rupture in a 30-inch natural gas line.

GOHSEP reported the pipeline was shut in as of 7:30 a.m. The gas fire was put out a short time later, but trees in the area are still burning.

The roads around the explosion are shut down, Seal added. GOHSEP reported a one-mile area near the explosion was evacuated with 55 people impacted. All had places to go, so no sheltering is required at this time. Red Cross has set up a small disaster relief area at a local church.

There have been no reported injuries or deaths, but officials said a trailer was damaged.  Washington Parish Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Mike Haley says the blast knocked a woman who lives about 700 feet away off of her couch and the fire melted siding from the front of her house trailer.

There were reports about 10,000 homes lost power, but crews are working to get it turned back on as quickly as possible.

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) reported wildland firefighters are on the scene to handle the burning trees.

"Our firefighters were called to assist because the fire happened in a wooded area with acres of land at risk," said LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M.

According to a news release, four firefighters are on stand-by with two bulldozers and a pumper truck to help contain the fire if it gets out of control or another gas line blows.

Officials said the LDAF firefighters on scene reported the flames shooting out of the pipe were about 100 feet high at one point and could be seen from miles away.

"We also have a forestry plane in the air at this time monitoring the situation from above. This allows us to view the entire area and watch for the possibility of spot fires," Strain added.

According to WWL-TV, witnesses called the newsroom and reported hearing a blast around 5:30 a.m. Some said they saw a bright orange light and smelled a funny odor.

American Red Cross volunteers are supporting efforts at the explosion site. The Red Cross team is working with parish officials and authorities to provide for the needs on scene, including supplying water and snacks.

The plume of smoke from the explosion was detected on the radar.

Copyright 2013 WAFB. All rights reserved. WWL-TV contributed to this report.