Suspected gas line blast sends flames soaring


Flames shoot into the air near Sissonville, W. Va., Tuesday after a suspected gas line explosion.

By Kari Huus, NBC News

A suspected gas line explosion rocked an area near Sissonville, W.Va., Tuesday, sparking multiple fires, and burning and melting several structures, according to reports from the area.

No injuries or fatalities had so far been reported from the blast, which was reported at about 12:40 p.m. ET., according to KSAZ-TV, based in Huntington, W. Va. 

Video showed flames leaping high into the sky and across Interstate 77, the north-south arterial that goes through Charleston, W. Va., about 10 miles south of Sissonville.

Portions of I-77 were closed and traffic was being diverted. KSAZ reported.

"The flames are shooting 50, 75 to 100 feet. There's fire everywhere," said Kanahwa County Commissioner Kent Carper, speaking from the scene, West Virginia Metro News reported.

"Gas company is on the scene working with emergency officials to get the gas shut off, then we'll assess if we have injuries or casualties. At this time it's a fairly chaotic scene," he said, according to the report.

KSAZ reported that the gas line had been capped, citing emergency officials, but NBC News did not have independent verification.

Carper told 58-WEHS that several homes and other structures were damaged by fire and intense heat from the blast.

"It's caused houses to melt and burn way far away," he said. "Many structures are on fire in a large fire area stretching hundreds and hundreds of feet."

He said that the explosion occurred very close to Cedar Ridge Nursing Home in Sissonville, an unincorporated area with a population of about 4,000.

Officials of a plant in the vicinity of the blast, NGK Spark Plugs, said that they had shut down for at least two work shifts, according to the report.

Residents in the area, including children at Sissonville Elementary school had been directed to shelter in place, according to KSAZ.

This story will be updated as additional information becomes available.

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