While the evacuation order surrounding a liquefied natural gas plant ended up lifted Tuesday after an explosion Monday morning, the gas tank punctured in the blast continued to leak.
The explosion injured five workers at the Williams Northwest Pipeline facility in Plymouth, WA, Monday, a company spokeswoman said the subsequent fire finally burned itself out 18 hours later.
The blast likely occurred in a pump house at the plant at 8:30 a.m. Monday. Shrapnel punctured a liquefied natural gas tank, which sent out plumes of white vapor. The gas tank was still leaking Tuesday night.
Hundreds of people evacuated within a 2-mile radius of the plant and taken across the Columbia River to Umatilla, OR. Late Tuesday afternoon, authorities had lifted the evacuation orders.
The Benton County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday the gas was blowing away with the wind. Access to the plant remains restricted as investigators look into what caused the blast.
The fire burned itself out at about 3 a.m. Tuesday, said Williams Partners spokeswoman Michele Swaner.
She said remote devices travelled went into the scene Monday in an attempt to figure out what happened. Investigators at the scene Tuesday morning were working to isolate the damage and assess the level of repairs.
Four of the people hurt in the explosion went to the Hermiston hospital for treatment. The fifth, 61-year-old Mike Yunker of Echo, OR, went to the burn unit at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland, where he is in good condition.