Ohio Gas Pipeline Explosion Shakes Houses

Multiple emergency crews from the area responded to a major gas pipeline explosion in southern Columbiana County late Thursday.

A ball of flames was visible on NEWS9's Jefferson County Tower Cam just before 11 p.m.

The explosion happened in a mostly rural area of Hanover Township, north of Salineville and about 40 miles northwest of Steubenville. No injuries were reported.

According to a news release from the Columbiana County Emergency Management Agency, a Tennessee Gas Pipeline explosion happened at 10:29 p.m. in the vicinity of Bethesda and McKaig roads.

Crews were able to stop the fire by turning off gas to the area, but witnesses said flames were initially shooting hundreds of feet in the air.

Several people called the NEWS9 newsroom like Nancy Dickson, who said her home literally shook. One resident likened the explosion to a "sonic boom."

Columbiana County dispatchers said they were flooded with about 100 calls in just 15 minutes. It took crews some time to pinpoint the location because calls were coming in from many different locations.

Multiple fire departments throughout the county were mobilized.

The Hanover Township Fire Department began an initial evacuation of residents within a 1-mile radius. The Franklin Township Fire Department and the Hanoverton Ruritans facilities were opened as temporary shelters.

The Columbiana County EMA opened at 11 p.m.. The Columbiana County Board of Commissioners, along with representatives from Columbiana County Red Cross and the Amateur Radio Service also responded.

At 11:30 p.m., the gas lines were being shut down from the north and south of the area. About 10 minutes later, the scene was contained and all roads with the exception of McKaig were being opened. Crews were still handling several remaining brush fires at that time.

The gas lines were contained people could return home around 12:12 a.m. and Ohio Edison crews were entering the area to assess line damages.

The Tennessee Gas Pipeline is a subsidiary of the El Paso Corporation.

Robert Newberry, a spokesman for El Paso Corporation, the parent company of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline, told NEWS9 it was his understanding that there were no injuries due to the explosion nor were there any structural fires caused by it. Only one resident had to evacuate a home, Newberry said.

The company has activated its emergency response plan, but has yet to determine a cause of the explosion

Newberry couldn't immediately say the last time the company dealt with a similar incident.

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