More than 10,000 people are evacuated from the rural Idaho town after the gas pipeline explodes
- Canyon County Sheriff’s spokesman Joe Decker said he did not yet know if any injuries have been reported in connection with the Middleton explosion.
- The sheriff said people within a four-mile radius of the explosion — including the city of 10,600 residents — were ordered to evacuate while police assessed the situation.
- The evacuation order was lifted a short time later after the sheriff confirmed the gas supply to the line had been shut off and residents were directed to “shelter in place.”
An Idaho town of about 10,000 residents evacuated residents Thursday after a gas line exploded at a nearby intersection.
As a result, authorities ordered evacuations for most of the town of Middleton, which was later declared by local sheriffs did not yet know whether there were any injuries in connection with the explosion.
Joe Decker, spokesman for the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office said people within a 4-mile radius of the explosion – which includes the small town – were ordered to evacuate as authorities kept motorists away from the then-risk area for about an hour.
The order has since been withdrawn – after police confirmed that the gas line had been shut off around 11.40am. At that time, residents of the city of 10,600 were advised to “shelter in place” instead.
Footage shows the explosion as it occurred, reportedly causing a series of rumblings to echo over several kilometers. There were also a number of primary schools nearby, but they were not cleared and have since resumed classes, instructors said.
Canyon County Sheriff’s Office social media accounts alerted residents when it happened, as smoke was still billowing from the rural road where the blast occurred.
“EVACUATION NOTICE IN MIDDLETON,” the department’s first alert, sent out at 11:20 a.m. local time, read — before revealing that officers were “working to evacuate everyone within a four-mile radius of Purple Sage Road and Duff Lane .’
Within an hour, the sheriff’s office shared an update stating that the gas supply had been shut off and that the order, however briefly, had been rescinded.
“Anyone within a four-mile radius,” officers said. ‘We are currently being asked to take shelter on site.
“Will provide additional updates as they become available.”
The statements did not specify what caused the leak or subsequent explosion, which is currently under evaluation by local authorities.