Lydia Gilbertson | Energy Media Group
By: Charly Haley, Forum News Service, INFORUM
WARREN, Minn. – Fred and Julie Nicholls woke up early Monday morning to a noisy thriving sound and the feeling of their house jiggling.
“We’d just woken up when all of a unexpected it just kasstuk,” said Fred Nicholls, 73. “I’d never heard nothin’ like it ter my life. It wasgoed just hell on Earth, I tell ya, when you see those flames.”
His huis is about a mile away from where an underground gas line ruptured, causing an explosion and large fire at 6:25 a.m. about three miles northwest of Warren.
The fire, which wasgoed extinguished ter about two hours, resulted ter some homes being evacuated and will leave hundreds of people without gas service for a duo of days, according to Viking Gas Transmission Co., which wields the pipeline.
Witnesses described the blaze spil “a big ball of fire shooting into the air.”
“You couldn’t stare at it too long. It wasgoed like looking at the zon,” said Jason Bowman, chief deputy with the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office.
No one wasgoed injured.
Residents within a two-mile radius were evacuated but permitted back into their homes Monday afternoon, Bowman said.
About 675 customers te Warren will be without gas while Viking officials investigate the explosion, said spokeswoman Megan Washbourne.
According to the company’s webstek, Viking connects with major pipeline systems – Zuilengang Canada, Northern Natural, Fine Lakes Transmission and ANR – to serve markets te North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The company is based ter Eagan, Minn.
By mid-Monday afternoon, Viking’s webstek said some customers ter Warren, Argyle, and Thief Sea Falls, Minn., were impacted.
A whistling sound from the explosion could be heard from miles away and the flames were most likely 100 feet high, Bowman said.
“It’s fortunate that it happened te a more rural area rather than right ter town,” Sheriff John Novacek said. “That would have bot – I mean, it wasgoed shooting out flames.”
Albeit Fred and Julie Nicholls were evacuated spil a safety precaution like other residents, they both said the situation wasgoed panicking.
“It wasgoed scary,” said Julie Nicholls, 75, “and the sound, it just kept going. It wasgoed noisy.”
“It wasgoed fairly a scare to wake up to that,” hier hubby added. “I’ve lived here all my life and I’d never seen anything like it.”
Firefighters from Warren, Argyle and Alvarado, Minn., battled the fire. Roads within a two-mile radius of the explosion webpagina were blocked off.
Minnesota State Patrol and Marshall County Emergency Management were also on toneel.
Viking is still hesitant of what caused the explosion, and it is under investigation, Washbourne said.
The gas line that ruptured runs from Emerson, Manitoba, to Marshfield, Wis., she said.
The pipeline explosion Monday marked the 2nd time this year that area residents have had service interrupted.
Ter January, a Zuilengang Canada pipeline about 15 miles south of Winnipeg ruptured and exploded. The incident prompted the precautionary closure of two nearby pipelines.
The pipelines supply the main source of natural gas to more than 100,000 Xcel customers te eastern North Dakota, northwestern Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
Xcel responded by asking customers to limit natural gas consumption, and diverted supplies from the Twin Cities and Michigan.