Victim identified following massive gas pipeline explosion in Lincoln County
Authorities say a massive explosion has killed one person in Lincoln County early Thursday morning.
The Lincoln County Coroner's Office has identified the victim as Lisa Denise Derringer, 58, of Stanford.
Authorities say the explosion happened in the area of Bowens Loop Road in the Moreland community near Junction City and Hustonville. U.S. 127 was closed in the area as a result, as emergency directors have set up a command center. At its peak, the flames reached approximately 300 feet in the air.
"It was impressive. It's tragic," Lincoln County Emergency Management Director Don Gilliam said.
Several structures caught fire in the area of the Indian Camp subdivision. Those flames were extinguished Emergency managers say five others are injured. Everyone else was accounted for.
Emergency managers say a ruptured gas line was the cause of the explosion. Crews have been able to shut off the gas. At least 75 people evacuated from the scene. Some of those displaced went to New Hope Baptist Church for shelter. Some have since left the shelter and returned to their homes. At least five homes were destroyed, and others were damaged.
Crews are assessing the damage during daylight hours. Kentucky State Police Trooper Robert Purdy tweeted photos showing areas void of grass and vegetation. Railroad tracks in the area were also destroyed.
The pipeline stretches more than 9,000 miles ranging from the Mexican border in Texas to New York City.
"Enbridge is aware of and is responding to a rupture on the Texas Eastern system in Lincoln County, Kentucky. Our first concern is for those impacted by this event and ensuring the safety of the community. Our teams are coordinating with first responders to secure the site. We have isolated the affected line and are working closely with emergency responders to manage the situation. We will provide more information as it becomes available," a company spokesperson said.
The company also says that the National Transportation Safety Board has assumed control of the incident site.
Neighbors whose homes were impacted by the fire met Thursday night at New Hope Baptist Church in Moreland. They were able to speak with emergency management leaders, ask questions of Enbridge officials, and get help from the Red Cross.
Emergency management officials say they will be back out at the site on Friday morning to continue assessing the damage.
Authorities are asking the public to stay away from the area. Jodie Coulter lives near where the explosion happened, and she said she was able to get to safety with her husband but not before she suffered burns.
“It was hot. Look at the siding, and you could see it melting," Coulter said. "I had to get away from there as fast as I possibly could.”
Viewers in several counties reported seeing the fire, including people in the Lexington metropolitan area.
Chief Meteorologist Chris Bailey says the fire showed up on the Louisville weather radar.
Below are videos and photos from eyewitnesses. Some of the content may not be suitable for all audiences.