Gas tank still leaking at Wash. LNG blast site

Gas tank still leaking at Wash. LNG blast site

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by Associated Press & KGW.com Staff

kgw.com

Posted on April 1, 2014 at 6:11 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 1 at 6:58 PM

PLYMOUTH, Wash. -- Authorities have lifted the evacuation order around a liquefied natural gas plant on the Washington-Oregon border after an explosion there a day earlier, but the gas tank punctured in the blast was still leaking Tuesday night.

After an explosion injured five workers at the Williams Northwest Pipeline facility in Plymouth, Wash. Monday, a company spokeswoman said the subsequent fire finally burned itself out 18 hours later.

The blast likely happened in a pump house at the plant at about 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 were evacuated within a 2-mile radius of the plant and taken across the Columbia River to Umatilla, Ore. Late Tuesday afternoon, authorities had lifted the evacuation orders.

The Benton County Sheriff's Department said Tuesday that the gas was blowing away with the wind. Access to the plant remains restricted as investigators look into what caused the blast.

Background: 5 hurt in blast at gas plant, hundreds evacuated

The fire burned itself out at about 3 a.m. Tuesday, said Williams Partners spokeswoman Michele Swaner. 

She said remote devices were used Monday in an attempt to figure out what happened. Investigators at the scene Tuesday morning were working to isolate the damage and assess what repairs were needed.

Four of the people hurt in the explosion were treated at a Hermiston hospital. The fifth, 61-year-old Mike Yunker of Echo, Ore., was taken to the burn unit at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland, where he was listed in good condition Tuesday morning.

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