A Chevron drilling crew punctured a gas pipeline in North Texas Thursday and triggered an explosion that led emergency personnel to evacuate a nearby town, the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office said.
Officials said the explosion occurred about 9:30 a.m. at a rig near Milford, TX, about 40 miles south of Dallas. A Chevron crew punctured a 14-inch line, and company spokesman Justin Higgs said the accident involves a liquefied petroleum gas pipeline.
Milford, which has about 700 residents, evacuated after Chevron requested a 1½-mile evacuation zone. Deputies went door to door advising people to leave, said sheriff’s spokesman Lt. James Saulter.
Those residents remain out of their homes until Friday, said sheriff’s spokeswoman JoAnn Livingston. Police directed residents with no place to stay to the high school gymnasium six miles northeast on Interstate 35E in the town of Italy.
Saulter said there were no injuries in the incident. He said Chevron said it could take until Friday for the flare to burn itself out, which will then allow for the repairs to the rupture.
In a statement Thursday night, Chevron said it was depressurizing the pipeline through the day and overnight, reducing the size of the flare as residual gas in the pipeline burned off.
Flames were shooting into the air Thursday afternoon as some vehicles at the worksite burned. Residents could see a column of billowing black smoke from miles away.