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KNIFLEY, Ky. (WDRB) -- Adair County is under a state of emergency following a gas line explosion early Thursday morning.
The explosion happened sometime around 2:30 a.m. eastern time, near the tiny town of Knifley. Parts of Knifley were evacuated.
The explosion left a massive crater 60-ft. in diameter and 50-ft. deep in a nearby roadway, sent a fireball into the night sky, destroyed two homes and heavily damaged one other home.
Because of the number and size of the rocks that were blocking the road, Kentucky State Police asked all motorists and residents to avoid the Knifley area of KY 76 in Adair County -- from Baker's Store to Eastridge Cemetery Road -- because that portion of the roadway will be closed until further notice.
Two barns and several cars also caught fire after the explosion.
WDRB's Rachel Collier reported that power was cut to some homes in the area and smoke was still visible from five acres of woods that were still burning hours after the explosion. Roads were covered with debris, and crews were checking water lines for possible leaks to make sure they were safe.
According to a news release from Katie Dupuis Martin, the Manager of External Communications for Columbia Gulf Transmission LLC, the company's operating teams detected a drop in pressure on the 200 pipeline in Adair County, Ky. at 2:05 a.m. eastern time. The 200 pipeline carries methane gas.
Martin said, "crews immediately responded to the alert and determined that there was a rupture in the pipeline." She says they have not yet determined a cause but plan to work, "with the appropriate authorities to conduct a thorough and complete investigation."
Two people were treated at a hospital and released. Adair County fire officials told WDRB that dispatchers received over 450 calls to 911 in a very short time to report shaking ground, rumbling noises, and a fireball in the sky.
The pipeline was been shut off at both ends and was being allowed to burn out. Residents were warned that there could be several loud booms as this process continued.
Kentucky State Police Trooper Billy Gregory said that there were minor injuries among crews fighting the fire.
About 30 people were evacuated from the area.
Fire departments from Adair, Taylor and Russell Counties were on scene. The Adair County Sheriff's office said the fire spread into a wooded area and that the Kentucky Department of Forestry was handling that fire.
A witness tells WDRB that he saw dirt, trees and melted garbage cans across the roadway.