Gas Line Explodes Near Athens-Morgan County Line

UPDATED: Thursday November 17, 2011 12:42 AM

A natural gas line pipeline exploded near the Athens-Morgan county line on Wednesday morning, injuring at least one person and sending flames hundreds of feet into the air.

The explosion occurred at about 8:45 a.m., along Taylor Road, about five miles outside of Glouster, 10TV News reported.

Video taken from Chopper 10 showed at least three buildings that caught fire.

Witnesses said that flames shot hundreds of feet into the air near Hooper Ridge Road and Robinson Ridge Road.

A woman was transported to O'Bleness Memorial Hospital in nearby Athens because of respiratory problems, according to the Athens County Emergency Management Authority.

Authorities found her as she was walking down the road away from her fire, while carrying her dog.

The woman was treated for burns around her ankles and released later in the day, authorities said.

The Morgan County Sheriff's Office said that it received calls from up to 12 miles away from people who felt the explosion and heard the rumble from the fire.

A Tennessee Gas Pipeline runs through the area.    

According to authorities, two occupied homes, one unoccupied home and a barn were destroyed. A fourth home was seriously damaged.

Officials from Tennessee Gas Pipeline said that there was no longer any immediate threat to surrounding homes.

Arrangements were made for those who lost their homes, authorities said.

A 27 mile stretch of pipeline was shut off and pressure on both ends of the pipe had been reduced by 20 percent, Tennessee Gas Pipeline officials said.

According to Tennessee Gas Pipeline officials, the pipe had been inspected as recently as Nov. 11, but no problems were found during that inspection.

An investigation as to whether the explosion was accidental or criminal was being conducted. It could take months to determine a cause.

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