Explosion damages homes, shuts down interstate

Explosion near Sissonville, West Virginia

SISSONVILLE, WVa. (WKYT) - Investigators are still trying to figure out what sparked a natural gas pipeline explosion that destroyed homes, and even a section of interstate.

Flames shot high into the air following the explosion Tuesday afternoon in Sissonville, West Virginia.

The fire engulfed at least five homes nearby, and even burned across Interstate 77.

West Virginia's governor says that busy north-south route will likely be closed for at least another day, so crews can make repairs.

Firefighters say the flames were so intense, signs and guardrails on the interstate melted.

Despite the explosion, and massive fire, emergency crews say no one was killed.

Here's more information if you plan to travel in the area:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - State Police say they're being inundated with calls from drivers trying to travel a burned-up section of Interstate 77, but those calls need to go the Division of Highways.

I-77 is closed northbound at mile marker 111 and southbound at mile marker 114.

Travelers can go to the DOH website (http://bit.ly/hUQUQl) or call (877) WVA-ROAD for information on detours. That's (877) 982-7623.

State Police Sgt. Michael Baylous says the options include taking Interstate 79 North to Clarksburg, where drivers can get U.S. 50 to Parkersburg.

They also can take 79 North to Wallback, then pick up state Route 36 to U.S. 33 to Ripley, then get back on Interstate 77.

Tuesday's explosion destroyed four homes and damaged others.

Nobody was killed, but several people were treated for smoke inhalation.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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