Gas Explosion Sets Homes Afire in W.Va.; Highway Closed

Editor's Note: When it's determined to be safe, officials say EMS crews will be moving into the blast area to look for victims.

SISSONVILLE, W.Va. --Five homes are burning and a stretch of Interstate 77 in West Virginia is shut down after a major gas line explosion.

Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper says flames are shooting 50 to 75 feet high. He says it's not yet clear whether anyone has been hurt.

Sissonville Fire Chief Tim Gooch says patients at a nursing home not far from the blast near Sissonville are safe.

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Gooch says all the burning structures appear to be residential. He says the heat and fire are so intense that firefighters can't get close.

State Police Sgt. Michael Baylous says the blast occurred about 12:40 p.m. Tuesday. Crews are working to shut off the pipeline.

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