An underground gas line in rural southern Kentucky exploded early today, sending two people to the hospital and destroying two homes, a county official said. The explosion happened around 1am in a hillside about 100 feet off the road and left a crater 60 feet around. One person was hospitalized with burns and another was brought to the hospital for evaluation. In addition to the two homes that were destroyed, a third home was damaged by fire along with four or five vehicles.
About 20 homes within a few miles of the blast site have been evacuated, but firefighters have the fire under control and are letting it burn itself out. The pipeline, which was about 20 feet underground, is owned by Columbia Gulf Transmission. Columbia Gulf said in a statement that gas flow to the damaged pipeline has been stopped and trained crews have been sent to the scene to work with emergency responders to secure the scene and help ensure the safety of people in the surrounding area. The cause of the explosion is not yet known. (Read more gas line explosion stories.)