The Woodward News

October 9, 2013

No injuries in pipeline blast in rural Oklahoma

Rachael Van Horn
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — A natural gas pipeline near a little known community called Ditch Valley in the Oklahoma Panhandle, ruptured Tuesday night, sending flames hundreds of feet into the air, seen by some as far away as Fort Supply.

According to officials with pipeline owner and operator, Northern Natural Gas Company of Nebraska, there were no injuries as a result of the rupture and the only damage occurred on the property where the rupture occurred.

According to residents of the vast rural area, the explosion sounded more like a loud rumbling or a very loud roaring.

Firefighters from Kansas, Texas and Several Oklahoma counties were on scene all night, as well as law enforcement, who blocked roads leading to the gas fed blaze.  

As of noon Wednesday, the pipeline had been isolated from a source of gas and had blown down its remaining gas until the flame was down to a “two inch flicker”, said Northern spokesman, Mike Loeffler.

We are just letting that go and watching it for now because we don’t want to let more gas build up again and become another ignition source,” he said.

Ditch Valley exists about nine miles north of Rosston. The pipeline carries gas from producers and facilities here that clean the gas, north to a customer base in Nebraska, Loeffler said.

According to Loeffler, DCP Midstream used the line as well as other customers, to transport their clean natural gas to the market in Nebraska.

“We have parallel lines and were able to switch over to the other line so there has been no loss of service to our customers,” Loeffler said.

The cause of the rupture is still being investigated, Loeffler said.

“It is going to take anywhere from a few days to several weeks before we know what caused this,” he said.