Pipeline explodes in Eddy County, residents in area asked to self-evacuate

EDDY COUNTY, NM. (KRQE) – A gas line explosion in Eddy County forced people from their homes in the middle of the night. It has also left a lot of people shaken and wondering how it happened. Workers have been on scene cleaning up all day, as well as investigators who are trying to find a cause.

It was around 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday when officers were called to the scene off State Route 31 near Highway 285. People who live in the area say they heard a loud boom, but because there’s so much oil and gas activity here, they didn’t think much of it.

Some people went back to bed but were awoken by a knock at the door telling them to get out.

“I came outside, I talked to the patrolman and I looked to my right and I saw a huge flame. That flame was… I knew we had to leave. I mean there were no questions, no doubts. We just left,” Adam Licon said.

He lives barely a mile from the explosion. He said during the ordeal he thought, “Well, is it going to get worse right away? How much time do we have? Just to make sure my family gets out of the house and we get to a safe point and that’s it.”

Officials evacuated people within a two-mile radius of the explosion. Highway 285 and State Route 31 were closed off for hours.

A Houston-based energy company owns the line. The company says it was a natural gas line that ruptured and it’s still investigating how that happened.

Most residents took their families and found another place to stay for the night. Some sheltered-in-place until they were told the danger had eased.

Luckily there were no injuries, but there was a storage building that burned down. Both Highway 285 and State Route 31 have re-opened and people are being allowed to return home.

The line that ruptured transfers gas from wells to a treatment facility.


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