An explosion on Monday rocked the small town of Plymouth and much of the surrounding area. An evacuation notice went into effect for a two-mile radius of the Williams Northwest Pipeline plant, but not in Oregon.
UMATILLA, OR - An explosion on Monday rocked the small town of Plymouth and much of the surrounding area. An evacuation notice went into effect for a two-mile radius of the Williams Northwest Pipeline plant, but not in Oregon.
Several riverfront homes in Umatilla County are located within two miles of the plant.
"We heard this loud explosion. It rattled the house. Shook it pretty good," said Keith Metcalf who lives across the river from the plant.
The explosion was so violent it threw 250 pound pieces of steel almost 1,000 feet in the air.
"From the Williams plant, right here it's exactly 1.4 miles to the tank on the right," said another resident across the river, Darril.
"That's a pretty vicious explosive device setting and I've talked to the county commissioners about it. It just seems that something should have been done," said another riverfront resident, Larry Nelson.
Many of the homes along the Columbia River in Umatilla County are well within the two mile radius. An estimated 80 people live in the area.
"Nobody came down this road to our place or any other place on this road and notified us," said Metcalf.
A Benton County official said on Wednesday that it was fortunate no subsequent explosion happened and it was "a little bit of a miracle" no one was killed.
"This side of the river, we're safe. Those from the grainery down to the farm down there, they would have cause to worry, yes but over here there's not much to worry about from it," said Darril.
"I believe the people managing this, Williams, they were concerned about the gas fumes moving and igniting. The wind was blowing east and west variably and we're south. It was assumed we're in a no-danger zone. I don't agree. Unless they can control the wind," said Nelson.
Local emergency coordinators say the Columbia River provided enough of a barrier that there was no danger to residents on the Oregon said and that evacuating those people would have created more of a hazard.