The pipe line, owned by PSI MidStream out of Houston, exploded around 4 a.m. and the light from the fire could be seen as far away as Pecan Island and Erath.
Lee Powell of PSI Midstream said it is too early to determine what caused the pipe to rupture. An inspection team will be on the scene to inspect the pipe, he said.
Powell said the pipeline,which was buried three to five feet deep, had been in the ground for at least 50 years and was transporting natural gas to a plant in Kaplan.
The explosion created a large crater in the ground where the pipe line was buried. Parts of the pipe scattered as far away as 50 yards from the rupture. Grass and trees that surrounded the pipeline were burned within a 100-yard radius.
By 6:30 a.m., three valves in three different locations in the parish were shut off, stopping the flow of the gas. Once the gas stopped, the fire ceased and traffic was allowed back on La. 82 heading to and from Intracoastal City.
No one was injured in the explosion.
Volunteer firemen from Seventh Ward, Forked Island, Meaux/Nunez and a pumper truck from Abbeville arrived to the burning pipe line at 4:15 a.m.
When they arrived, the firemen could not go into the field where the fire was burning because of the heat and the safety issue.
Joseph Mouton of the Seventh Ward Fire Department said when the 911 call came, the caller could not determine if it was a oil production well or a pipeline that blew. Mouton said he determined it was a pipeline explosion based on the white smoke.
The first thing the firemen did was stop traffic on La. 82 from passing near the burning pipeline. Mouton said the firemen began evacuating homes and businesses over a two-mile radius. By 6:30 a.m. they had all returned home.
The fire departments and the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office remained on scene most of the morning. They never did use water to put out any fire, including the grass that burned. Mouton said the firemen were glad the fields were green and not dry. “We could have been fighting a marsh fire if were in a drought,” said Mouton.
Representatives from the pipeline were on scene Wednesday morning and an investigation had been launched into what caused the gas line to rupture.
The Environmental Protection Agency was also on location at 6:30 a.m. monitoring the air through the burn.