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Natural gas pipeline explodes in Adair County

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An early-morning gas line explosion beneath KY 76 in the Knifley community destroyed much of the road, damaged three nearby homes and sent two residents to the hospital for treatment last Thursday.

The explosion, which took place just before 1 a.m., sent rocks and debris the size of small vehicles erupting into the air, according to Adair County Judge/Executive Ann Melton, and forced roughly 20 people to evacuate their homes.

Two residents injured in the explosion suffered wounds as they tried to escape their burning home. The pair, a middle-aged couple whose names have not yet been made public, have been treated and released.

"You can train and practice for this all you want, but it's still chaos at first when something like this happens," said Adair County Emergency Management Director Greg Thomas. "Our first responders did an outstanding job of getting the situation under control, however. The best part of it was that no lives were lost. That's the No. 1 priority."

Fire departments from Taylor County, Knifley, Breeding, Adair County, Dunnville, Clementsville and Casey County responded to the scene, and were joined by the Adair County Sheriff's Department, Adair Search and Rescue and the Lake Cumberland Territory Red Cross.

By about 8:30 a.m., the blaze was completely extinguished. Thomas said in a press conference Thursday morning at the Knifley Area Volunteer Fire Department that he hoped residents were back in their homes by Friday.

"The goal is for tonight to be as normal a night as possible for them," he said of those displaced by the explosion. "The wonderful thing is that a lot of times in areas like this, people rely on neighbors and family. That's what happened here."

• Editor's Note: This story originally appeared in the Adair Progress, and is reprinted here with permission.