An explosion along a natural gas transmission line resulted in a huge fire ball visible for miles on the night of Tuesday, Nov. 29.
Multiple emergency agencies responded to calls at about 6:30 p.m. The fire occurred at 9600 Mellon’s Bridge Road in a rural part of eastern Platte County between Ridgely and Hoover.
According to a spokesman with the Platte County Sheriff’s Office, the fire did not affect any structure, and no injuries were reported. Aerial video footage from KCTV 5 news’ helicopter showed a large crater on the property when the flames subsided after about an hour.
According to the Kansas City (Mo.) Fire Department, the line belongs to Enterprise Products — based in Houston, Texas — and was carrying ethane and propane. The company turned off the gas line in Kearney, Mo., quickly extinguishing the flames.
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The original fire ball could be seen from along Interstate 29 and was visible for miles in all directions.
Debie Asher, a local resident, said she was driving north on Highway DD after leaving work when she witnessed the explosion. At about 6:27 p.m., she dialed 911 but didn’t receive an answer likely due to the high volume of calls.
“All of a sudden, the whole landscape in front of me was glowing orange,” she said. “When I turned the corner, I looked south and saw an enormous fire billowing hundreds of feet high.”
Multiple law enforcement agencies quickly responded and blocked off rural roads leading toward the area of the fire. Mellon’s Bridge Road runs east to west and dead ends near the Platte River. The road can only be accessed using either Highway B or Highway E and using Covered Bridge Road, which remained closed at B Highway as of late Tuesday night.
Another call for a structure fire on Highway B was determined to be an illusion of a residence backlit by the original fire.
According to published reports, a ruptured pipeline in rural Platte County resulted in a similar fire back in May of 2001. That incident occurred in a field south of Highway 273, about halfway between Weston and Platte City.
In that case, a 10-inch line used to transport liquid propane ruptured.