MILFORD (CBSDFW.COM) - Some residents and hundreds of school children in the North Texas city of Milford were evacuated after an 10-inch Chevron natural gas pipeline caught fire and exploded Thursday morning. No injuries were reported and a several mile radius around the pipeline was blocked off as fire crews allowed the fire to burn off.
Chevron issued the the following statement about the explosion:
"At approximately 9.30 a.m. (CST) today, there was an incident at a Chevron pipeline near Milford, Texas. Chevron has initiated its emergency response procedures and is currently responding to the incident. Chevron's primary concern at this point is to ensure the safety of its employees and the surrounding community. As soon as there are further details, they will be made available."
CBS 11 confirmed the transmission line which moves liquid petroleum gas, or natural gas, was hit by a construction crew onsite. Transmission lines are larger than those which carry gas to individual homes and because the shut off valve is not easy to get to, first responders have determined it's best to let the fire burn.
There is a second transmission line that runs through Milford, but Hill County Emergency Management has decided not to shut off gas to that line.
In the minutes following the explosion, the entire town was evacuated, along with students in the Milford Independent School District. About 200 students were transferred to the Italy Independent School District. Natasha Blackburn told CBS 11 News that all the children were picked up and taken to a safe shelter within a 20 minute time period.
TxDOT crews have closed several roads and established detours around the explosion.
The closures are:
- FM 308 in Milford – closed from State Highway 22 in Hill County to US 77 in Ellis County.
- US 77 in Milford – closed in the immediate area of the explosion
- I-35E exit ramps to Milford are closed
The Texas Railroad Commission is sending an inspector to Milford. Also, an EPA response team from Dallas is on its way to Milford to analyze the scene. Anyone with respiratory or underlying health issues is being told to remain inside.
Milford is located about 20 miles south of Waxahachie. The town of Milford has a population of about 700 people.