CARTHAGE, TX (KSLA) - The Panola County Sheriff's Office confirms it was some type of pipeline explosion that shook homes south of Carthage, Texas just before 6:00 a.m. Wednesday.
A 12" natural gas transmission line ruptured and exploded. The fire singed nearby trees and knocked out nearby power lines. The pipeline was capped before 8:00 a.m., cutting off the fuel to the fire, which could be seen and felt from a distance.
The line belongs to MarkWest Energy, a midstream natural gas operation based out of Carthage. A spokesperson says the cause of the rupture on the site near Farm to Market 999 and Co Rd 420 is under investigation.
Reports of the explosion and fire in Gary south of Carthage began coming into the KSLA News 12 newsroom just after 6:00 a.m.
"We live outside of Carthage, and can see and feel this Explosion.. Any Word on what it could be," asked the first, along with a picture (right) of a smokey, glowing horizon over darkened treetops.
Another picture came in moments later from Amanda Thames, simply saying, "Explosion happened just before 6am."
"Huge gas well fire near So. Panola Co & Shelby Co. Emergency are trying to find it. It shook houses in a majority of this area," read one tip from Cynthia Kaye McKnight.
Late Wednesday morning, MarkWest vice president Bert Dillmann issued a statement on the incident, confirming the fire was detected on their pipeline about one-quarter of a mile from the Gary Compressor Station:
"There were no injuries or structural damage to the compressor station equipment. The pipeline and compressor station were immediately shut-down and MarkWest's emergency response plan was implemented. MarkWest's personnel were immediately dispatched to the location. The fire, which was limited to brush surrounding the pipeline, was quickly extinguished by the Gary Volunteer Fire Department who left the site by 8:00 a.m. CDT. MarkWest is investigating this incident and will work with local and state authorities throughout this process. MarkWest would also like to thank the first responders for their quick and professional response."