Gas Explosion Damages; Sheriff's Office: Very Blessed We Didn't Have Loss of Life

A Williams Northwest Pipeline Spokesperson says its plant in Plymouth is no longer at risk for another explosion.

The Benton County Sheriff's Office says shrapenal weighing hundreds of pounds flew into the air through metal buildinds landing more than a hundred yards away.

Five employees were injured but authorities say it was luck that nobody was in critical condition or worse.

The tank that was puntured is no longer leaking.

A Williams spokesperson wants to assure people that if they see any natural gas venting from the top of the tank, that it is not dangerous.

Many of the valves are now turned off.

The spokesperson says there is no concern for contamination in the soil because the natural gas evaporates into the air and is blown away.

The sheriff's office says there are large lacerations in buildings on the site from shrapenal being thrown through the walls, one large piece even landed on the Santa Fe Rail Line that was closed for a day and a half but is now back open.

"There was room for so much more. We were very blessed that we didn't have loss of life, we came out of this one with a miracle," said Deputy Joe Lusignan of the Benton County Sheriff's Office.

Five employees were injured Monday morning. 

Michael Yunker, 61, is in good condition at a burn unit in Portland and four other emploees were treated for minor injuries at Good Shephard Hospital in Hermiston and released.

One of the next steps will be to transfer the remaining liquified natural gas from the leaking tank into the other tank.

Company personnel are currently on site at the plant making sure everything is safe and assessing the damages.

There is still no word yet on what caused the explosion and the company is trying to figure out what went wrong.

No customers have been affected since Monday.

All evacuations were lifted yesterday, allowing nearly 300 evacuees to return to the area.

Local and Regional News

Photo Galleries

This Week's Circulars