The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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December 11, 2012

Major natural gas explosion near Sissonville

Multiple homes burned, Interstate 77 closed, 2,100 kids sheltered in local schools

CHARLESTON — A major gas line has exploded in West Virginia, burning five homes and shutting down a stretch of Interstate 77 in Sissonville.

Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper says flames shot 50 to 75 feet high before the fire was put out around 2 p.m. on Tuesday. He says it's not yet clear whether anyone has been hurt.

Sissonville Fire Chief Tim Gooch says patients at a nursing home not far from the blast near Sissonville are safe.

Gooch says all the burning structures appear to be residential. He says the heat and fire were so intense that firefighters couldn't immediately get close.

State Police Sgt. Michael Baylous says the blast occurred about 12:40 p.m. Tuesday. Crews were working to shut off the pipeline.

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