A pipeline exploded in Knifley during the early morning hours Thursday, destroying at least two homes, injuring two people, and lighting up the sky with a fire that was seen from miles away.
The explosion blew a large hole in the ground beside Elkhorn Road, just past the crossroads up the hill toward Eastridge Cemetery Road. Flames blew from the exposed pipeline after the explosion sent boulders across the roadway into homes and fields.
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One house beside the explosion and another house across Elkhorn Road were destroyed by flames. Two people in one house received injuries that were not life-threatening and the other house is suspected to have been vacant.
Kathy Tucker lives in the house just below where the explosion took place. Her roof is now filled with holes and a ceiling joist and air unit fell to the floor. She left a trash bag at the end of the road for pickup and the bag itself is now completely gone, incinerated from the heat, with only some garage sitting in its place.
Kathy and her husband were asleep when the loud explosion woke them.
"It was bright as daylight," Kathy said at the scene.
Rocks were blasting through their roof so they quickly dressed with plans to escape outside.
"It was big rocks raining down and we couldn't go out," she said. "Everything was lit up."
Dozens of calls started coming in to 911 dispatch around 1 a.m. from people who heard, felt and saw the explosion. The fire was so big emergency personnel had difficulty determining where it was located, with people saying it looked like it was in the Millerfield area, Snake Creek Road and Union Church Road.
Five fire departments were called in for assistance, air ambulance services were put on standby, and EMS called all employees to respond.
City Hall and Plum Point Baptist Church opened for people who were being evacuated. Some people were first told to evacuate but later Emergency Management Director Greg Thomas told people to use their own judgment.
Emergency services were still on the scene at the time of this post. More information will be posted as it becomes available.
By Sharon Burton
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