Pipeline explodes in Pettis County

Authorities continue to search through the rubble from a pipe explosion north of Sedalia in Pettis County.

UPDATE: November 29, 2013, 4:35 p.m.

Authorities continue to search through the rubble from a pipe explosion north of Sedalia in Pettis County.

Investigators are trying to figure out why a 30-inch natural gas pipeline ruptured shortly before midnight.

Pettis County Sheriff Kevin Bond said the explosion could be seen 12 miles away. No one was hurt. The impact left a large crater and destroyed several farm buildings. H. A. Williams owns a cattle farm next to the explosion site. His cattle were not hurt but the fire destroyed his old hog barn that was filled with hay bales.

Williams said, â??We heard a real loud boom. The sky lit up. It felt like I saw a flying saucer. It was really bright all around us. I looked out of the window and the cows were running out here in the pasture.â??

Williams said crews got the gas turned off about 2 and half hours after the explosion. Williams said he could feel a wave of heat and heard a loud roar while the fire lit up the night sky. Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line company spokeswoman Vicki Granado said her companyâ??s investigation team is working with federal authorities to find the cause of the explosion. Granado said the thorough investigation involves sending pieces of the pipe to a laboratory for examination. Authorities evacuated less than a dozen people who live within 3 miles of the explosion. Everyone in the neighborhood is back in their homes. Pipeline workers rerouted the flow of natural gas and all of their customers have service.

Representatives of the Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Company are working with local emergency crews to find the cause of the explosion. Authorities said the explosion site is now safe.

UPDATE: Authorities say families are returning to their homes.

Pipeline workers have routed the flow of natural gas and customers should have service.

Original story:

An explosion at the Panhandle Eastern Pipeline Company lit up the sky for miles, according to witnesses.

A pipeline ruptured around midnight just south of Houstonia, Mo. The blast set several buildings on fire, including area pig farms.

There are no known injuries.

Pettis County Sheriff Kevin Bond says the pipeline fire burned for about two hours after Panhandle Eastern crews shut off gas flow. However, the farm and hay fires continued to smolder late Friday morning.

Sheriff Bond says authorities originally evacuated a three-mile area as a precaution. That had been reduced to .5 miles by early Friday morning.

Bond says that at the moment, there is no timeline as to when people will be allowed back into the area.

Jason Knox lives around four miles from the pipeline and says he heard what sounded like a gunshot, and then he started getting calls from concerned neighbors.

"I looked outside and you could see the flames just roaring. I opened the door and you could hear it," he said.

Knox drove to nearby Hughesville High School, about one mile from the explosion site, and recorded a video of the scene.

"You could feel it in your chest, it was just amazing just the sound, was deafening on the video. And probably about two or three minutes the parking lot was full of cars," he said.

Sheriff Bond says law enforcement, emergency responders and the gas company all train for situations like this explosion.

"We have annual training that occurs with the pipeline company, that was done in the spring. And the last time we actually had a simulation was about a year ago, where fire agencies, law enforcement and the gas company actually did a simulated burn," he said.

No word yet on damage estimates or what caused the rupture.