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Idaho gas line explosion forces 10,000 to evacuate, results in 1 injury
Canyon County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Douglas Hart (Image Source: KTVB video screenshot)

Idaho gas line explosion forces 10,000 to evacuate, results in 1 injury

A massive gas line explosion in Idaho late Thursday morning forced officials to issue an evacuation order that impacted an entire town, the Associated Press reported.

Approximately 10,600 Middleton residents within a four-mile radius of the incident were ordered to evacuate.

According to Chief Deputy Douglas Hart of the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office, a worker operating an excavator tore through a 22-inch natural gas pipeline near a rural intersection around 10:30 a.m. on Thursday. The worker reportedly suffered minor injuries and was transported to a nearby hospital.

The burst pipeline, owned by Williams Companies, was part of an interstate line that runs through several states in the northwest, the AP reported. Hart explained that the line had approximately 750 pounds of pressure per square inch.

Williams Companies claimed there was “no ignition, fire, or explosion associated with this incident and the cause is under investigation.” The company noted that its workers “implemented shutdown procedures” and coordinated with first responders.

According to residents, the incident caused an audible explosion that could be described as low-flying jets.

One resident, Sam Kimball, told the Idaho Statesman, “It sounded like if you were standing on the tarmac of a runway and a jet was taking off.”

Kimball noted that he was approximately a half-mile away when he heard “a loud bang and this really loud roar that just kept going and going and lasted probably about 20-25 minutes.”

Middleton Fire Department Battalion Chief David Jones stated, “It was a pretty substantial explosion just due to the pressure in that line.”

“The explosion was felt, and the gas flow could be felt about a mile away,” Jones added.

He told the Idaho Statesman that the pipeline explosion did not pose a risk to people in the area breathing in the gas.

“Natural gas is lighter than atmospheric air so it tends to rise,” Jones said. “The weather today was actually really good for this event because of the high pressure, it allowed the gas to lift. We had a pretty good wind of 10 to 15 miles an hour southwest, which dispersed the gas pretty high in the atmosphere so there really was no concern about effects from breathing in the gas.”

By around 11:45 a.m., after confirming the line had been shut off, officials lifted the evacuation order and requested that residents shelter in place instead.

“All evacuation orders and shelter in place orders have been lifted. All police and fire units have been cleared. It is safe to return to the area of Purple Sage Rd and Duff Ln. The gas company is taking over the investigation,” Canyon County posted on X.

KTVB reported that residents should not experience an interruption to their local gas.

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