San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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August 28th, 2008
Massive gas explosion shakes buildings miles away

Thursday morning, at 8 A.M., a ground-shaking natural gas explosion at Stairtown rocked school buildings in Prairie Lea, 2 miles away, and was felt 11 miles to the southwest in Lockhart.

Prairie Lea students had not yet arrived; after they arrived, they entered and stayed in classrooms; and by 11 AM, Superintendent Jessie Lopez stated to Newstreamz that the fire was out and “a couple of grassfires” were contained.

Within 15 minutes of the explosion, Superintendent Lopez and shop teacher, Shelly Hardaway, traveled to the site. Lopez noted the capable response of The Tri-County Volunteer Fire Department, the Lockhart Fire Department, and the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Department. State troopers and about 9 other fire units also assisted.

The flames shot up several hundred feet; but through a safety valve system, Lopez reports, the gas was immediately shut off. Then the fire was allowed to burn out.

Several square miles were cordoned off, and traffic was stopped on State Road 671, which runs past the gas plant.

No one was injured, and no one was evacuated.

Officials are testing to see if pipelines are structurally sound and will conduct a full investigation of the cause of the explosion.

Lopez states that he will check with police officials to make sure the roadway near the plant is clear for buses to travel after school is dismissed today.


Photos are courtesy of Shelly Hardaway of Prairie Lea Schools.

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