Condensation tank explodes, causing early morning natural gas li - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Condensation tank explodes, causing early morning natural gas line fire

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SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A mechanical failure is being blamed for a large explosion and fire Friday morning at a Smith County natural gas well.

At least six fire engines from Red Springs, Winona, and Lindale fire departments responded to the 17700 block of Farm to Market 14, near Tyler State Park. Crews arrived at the scene sometime around 3:00 a.m. Around that time, nearby residents said they awoke to "multiple pops" and a loud "boom" that "sounded like a bomb went off."

Fire crews were not immediately able to get close to the source of the rupture, staying back until valves cut off gas flowing from area pipelines into the site. Representatives with Griffin Operating, Inc. were at the scene to assist with shutting off gas line valves that run through the neighborhood into the well.

Smith County Assistant Fire Marshal Oren Hale said the fire was caused by a condensation tank explosion, which also spread to a nearby grassy field. Although he determined the fire to be caused by a mechanical failure, he said the source of ignition was indeterminable. He added that the gas company may elect to do their own investigation, bringing in engineers to determine the source of ignition.

According to emergency officials, the fire was put out by 5:30 a.m. and four residents initially evacuated were then allowed to return to their home. At one point, authorities closed a portion of FM 14 to traffic. That portion has since reopened.

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