Emergency Responders Follow Specific Plan in Plymouth - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Emergency Responders Follow Specific Plan in Plymouth Gas Pipeline Explosion

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Just after 8:00 a.m. Monday people in Plymouth and as far as Umatilla were rocked by a loud explosion. Just after 8:00 a.m. Monday people in Plymouth and as far as Umatilla were rocked by a loud explosion.

PLYMOUTH, WA - Just after 8:00 a.m. Monday people in Plymouth and as far as Umatilla were rocked by a loud explosion.
     
Benton County Sheriffs Deputies and about 120 other first responders were dispatched to a staging area about 2 miles from the Williams Natural Gas Plant Facility.
     
The pipeline explosion sent chunks of material into a nearby tank containing natural liquid gas and caused it to leak.
     
"This is all part of the plan of an emergency type of thing as they assess the situation and as it changes and as it minimizes, they will basically turn resources lose," said Deputy Joe Lusignan, Benton County Sheriff's Office.

The evacuation procedure began shortly after in the midst of the possibility of another explosion.
 
"We've got deputies going door to door, detectives going door to door encouraging the evacuations," continued Deputy Lusignan. 

From that point on, crews began waiting for the Washington State Patrol Bomb Squad to arrive from Yakima with a robot that would assess the area for safety.
   
They wanted to make sure the tank that holds about 14 million gallons of natural liquid gas was drained before crews could go in to start on repairs. 
     
They estimate the tank was about half full at the time of the explosion.

"As far as how long that process is going to take that is unknown at this time," said Captain Jeff Ripley, Benton County Fire District 1.  

As the tank drained, the temperature of the liquid gas caused it to freeze as it poured out, this continuously stopped the leakage until it would thaw and vaporize then leak again. 

"And with the evacuation zone that's in place no one is in the immediate zone to which they are going to be exposed to any of the vapors the weather is very much in our favor," He added. 

Officials said a second explosion would cause extensive lethal damage within 3 quarters or a mile from the tank and serious damage within a 2 mile radius of the tank.

Officials estimate anywhere from 300 to 1,000 people could have been in danger in Plymouth and parts of Paterson and that includes field and orchard workers. 
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