Natural gas explosion rocks Bordeaux, forces evacuations
Aug 2, 2012 3:07 PM CDT
Reported By Heather Jensen, Reporter - bio | email
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
A natural gas line explosion rocked the Bordeaux area of north Nashville and prompted the evacuation of hundreds of residents early Thursday morning.
A 16-inch gas main ruptured in the 3600 block of Clarksville Pike between Ashland City Highway and Buena Vista Pike around 12:45 a.m., sending natural gas shooting into the night air.
First responders initially shut down a half-mile radius of Clarksville Pike but quickly realized more needed to be done.
Nashville Police Chief Ricky Taylor said, "The first HAZMAT unit got almost to Ashland City Highway and the road was actually vibrating. They immediately just backed out. We never ever saw the pipeline."
While HAZMAT crews were testing the air and utility workers were securing the gas line, officers went door-to-door, forcing those in nearby homes and apartments out of bed and away from the fumes.
Between 600 and 800 residents were evacuated. Some didn't need a knock on the door.
"You couldn't see anything but the roar was enough that you knew something was going on that wasn't right," said Keith Benion.
He added, "We didn't have to wait on police. We knew that wasn't a good feeling if it happened."
"It sounded like airplanes, you know, airplanes rumbling overhead and they weren't going away," resident Justin Harvey added.
Juan Brown said, "It's constant. Whatever it is, it's constant. It sounds like it's a jet plane coming this way, like it's getting ready to crash."
Delando Smith told Nashville's News 2 he and his family ran outside after he smelled the gas and felt his entire house shake.
"We ran through the house and ran out the door barefooted with no shoes on, everybody in night clothes, running down the street trying to get away from this," he said. The blast also sent debris flying, raining down on a neighboring auto dealership, crushing rooftops and shattering windows.
By daylight, hundreds of evacuees had returned to their homes.
The Church of Jesus Christ was damaged in the explosion and the parking lot was nearly covered in dirt.
Mashhoor Ayoub owns Jordan Auto Sales next door to the church.
He told Nashville's News 2 when he got to work he found smashed cars and his lot littered with rocks.
"I was surprised with the damage. I looked around and you can see this car, [it was] hit very bad," he said.
Ayoub said around two dozen cars received damage.
The line was isolated and the system was stable, but Piedmont gas workers were expected to be at the blast site indefinitely to figure out what went wrong.
Representatives say it could be days before they know an exact cause.
According to Piedmont Gas, the line that ruptured was a transmission feed, impacting fewer than six customers.
Company officials said they planned to contact those who suffered property damage.