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Greg Thomas: Hopes Knifley has a more normal night tonight
Adair County Emergency Disaster Manager Thomas, Adair County Judge Executive Ann Melton, and Knifley Area Volunteer Fire Department Public Affairs Spokesman Jeramy Stearns briefed area media and tv stations at 11amCT today at the Knifley Fire Department.
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By Ed Waggener
Adair County CEO Ann Melton; Greg Thomas, Emergency Disaster Manager for Adair; and Knifley Area Volunteer Fire Department Public Information Officer Jeramy Stearnes briefed a dozen or so media representatives at 11amCT, today on the progress made in the 10 hours since the 911 center in Columbia was notified of the Knifley Pipeline explosion. Thomas said that, at the time, all the fires had been extinguished, everyone in the area had been accounted for, that the two people taken to the hospital had both been released this morning, that road repairs on KY 76 were on track for a possible completion by 5pmCT, and that authorities hoped to allow all residents to return to their homes tonight. "We're hoping everything will be back to as normal as possible tonight for for everyone."
Thomas said that he was overwhelmed by the offers of support and by the performance of all involved.
Thomas, who is the top officer at the Adair 911 Center, said a call reporting the explosion to the center in Columbia came at 1:04/05amCT this morning.
He said the there were three houses damaged by the fire, two of which were completely destroyed. Also damaged were 6 vehicles and 3 barns.
During the course of the night and early morning, he reported (in a list given to media representatives who requested them) that, starting with the home town Knifley Fire Department, other first responders on the scene were the Adair County Fire Department, the Breeding Fire Department, the Clementsville Fire Department, the Dunnville Fire Department, Casey County Fire Department, the Adair County EMS, the Adair County Sheriffs Office, Adair County Constables including the local district's Constable Jason Rector, the Kentucky State Police, the State Fire Marshal, the Red Cross, the Adair County Judge's Office, Adair County Emergency Management Office and the Kentuckyi Emergency Management office, Road Crews, and the electrical utilities representatives.
In addition, the Russell County, Burkesville, and Green County Fire Departments were on standby to come if needed.
"In all," he said, "we probably had well over 100 people working."
It was amazing how many people responded throughout the state.
Some responded anticipating the possibility of needs which did not materialize but whose presence was reassuring. The Red Cross dispatched a representative to set up a shelter, but no one needed the shelter, Thomas said. (And at least one local church had sent the offer of a shelter, Plum Point Baptist, just a couple of hours after the news of the disaster was widespread).
Thomas was asked about many matters related to the pipeline, but deferred those questions to Columbia Gas Transmission representatives. "They have 15 people here to address the situation."
He did say that Columbia Gas had bled lines to reduce the the danger from further explosions. He said the a pressure had been reduced in one parallel line from around 1800 PSI to 600 PSI to reduce the possibility of danger.
Thomas said that three pipelines cross the county, but only two were close enough to represent any possible related consequences.
Thomas said that the because of the low density of houses in the area, the losses were much less than they could have been.
He also said that the timing, at 1amCT, this morning, was likely responsible for no motorists being hurt. The explosion threw huge boulders into the roadways. "I'm not talking about just big rocks, these were huge. One of those boulders could have totalled a car and killed motorists and passengers," he said.
Judge Melton tells why the State of Emergency was declared
Judge Melton was asked in the news conference about her decision to declare a state of emergency and the area it involved. "To a great extent, I followed the advice of Greg Thomas on the State of Emergency - and it was for the whole county." The reason for the declaration was that it made additional resources available, she said. And the county could act expeditiously to protect human life, property, and the countryside more effectively." Judge Melton said that calls to offer assistance or to check on needs had come from Rep. Ed Whitfield, from State Representative Bam Carney, and from the governor's office, asking if all the lines had been purged.
Judge Melton, who was on the scene most of the morning before making a brief return to Columbia for a little over an hour, said that she could not be prouder of the local first responders or of those who came to Adair County's aid and did so in such an organized, controlled and professional manner.
Jeremy Stearnes: gave description of the explosion
KAVFD spokesperson Jeremy Stearnes a Millerfield, Adair County area resident and a member of the fire department, in answer to a Tv reporters question, described the fire, which extended hundreds of feet in the air, as looking like a liftoff of a NASA space craft. He said that one of the sounds was like being right up by a loud freight train.
Stearnes told the reporters that the departments first concern, with the explosion as with all calls, was the safety of people. "We wanted to make sure that all people were safe and accounted for."
After that, he said that the firefighters and first responders priority to protect residents, other structures, and the environment.
He said that the fireman had all fires under control at around 8:30amCT this morning - only 7.5 hours after response operations began.
During the conference, and for several hours beyond, dump trucks were continously transforming the KY 76 roadway from a warzone to full utility. - EW
This story was posted on 2014-02-13 14:06:20
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