Hemphill County gas plant explosion

Published: May. 1, 2012 at 2:24 AM CDT|Updated: May. 1, 2012 at 3:31 PM CDT
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NewsChannel 10

Canadian, Texas - A fire at a gas plant in Hemphill County continued to burn, after a large explosion.

The Eagle Rock Natural Gas Processing Plant remains under close watch, as crews wait for the remainder of the gas to burn off.

They say the situation is under control, and they have performed a "safe shutdown," meaning all operations are halted, valves are closed, and everything is secure.

At least a dozen people were working at the Eagle Rock plant just south of Canadian, when a large explosion rattled the area.

Dan Sams with Eagle Rock Energy says, "There was an explosion and a release of gas that burned. There was some residual gas in the pipeline and at this time that gas is burning down. That is done for safety purposes, to let it burn itself out."

At this time, officials have no idea what caused the explosion, but they do know it happened on the west side of the plant in a pipeline that's above ground. They say it caused a very large boom and sent a fireball into the air, which crossed to the other side of the road and singed a patch of grass.

Fortunately, no one was hurt in the blast, but crews will remain on scene throughout the night, to make sure the pipeline does not re-ignite.

Sams explains, "Our primary concern is for the safety of the employees, the safety of the contractors in the plant working at the time, the safety of all the people in the area, and the environment."

As of now, there are no signs of any harm to the environment, but the TCEQ will investigate the incident, since gas was released into the air.

Officials cannot begin investigating the cause of the blast, until the remainder of the gas burns off.