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Breaking: Hundreds Evacuated after Explosion, Fire at Williams LNG Facility

March 31, 2014

Hundreds evacuated after Wash. gas plant explosion

Two hundred people have been evacuated, with at least one injury, after an explosion and fire today at an LNG (liquefied natural gas) facility in Washington operated by Williams Partners.  Everyone within a two-mile radius has been evacuated. Residents as far as three miles away have said they felt the explosion and can see the smoke.
Williams Partners is already infamous in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where it’s been responsible for numerous compressor station fires, releases of toxic substances, and incidents causing injuries and evacuations. Shale industry critic William Huston charges that Williams is currently illegally operating an unpermitted compressor station in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, as Williams rushes to join the Marcellus Shale gas boom profiteers. With this breaking news Williams is newly infamous on the west coast as well.
CNBC and Reuters reported  hours ago, today, Monday, March 31:
A fire broke out on Monday at a Plymouth, Washington, natural gas storage facility operated by Williams Partners, and was followed by an explosion, a local fire department official told Reuters.

The fire started at the facility early on Monday and was followed by an explosion in one storage tank, said Ed Dunbar, a captain with the Benton County Fire District office. Messages left for Williams’ officials were not immediately returned.

Residents within a two-mile (3.2 km) radius of the area were told to evacuate, Dunbar said.

The fire’s cause was still unknown. Local media have reported some injuries.

According to its website, Williams operates a liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage facility in Plymouth. To create LNG, natural gas is cooled to minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit at which point it condenses into a clear, orderless liquid, according to Williams’ website.

The LNG is stored in large tanks, built with a double-wall design, Williams said.

Shares in The Williams Cos Inc fell 1.2 percent in early afternoon trading. A Williams spokesman told CNBC the company was in the midst of responding to the incident.

–By Reuters. CNBC contributed to this report.


BREAKING: Fire and Explosion at Natural Gas Plant near Plymouth

Posted: Mar 31, 2014 9:23 AM PST Updated: Mar 31, 2014 9:23 AM PST

PLYMOUTH, WA – Firefighters are evacuating hundreds of people in Plymouth, Washington after a fire and explosion at the Williams Northwest Pipeline facility, a natural gas plant.

Firefighters from several agencies are performing a structural strike team response at the facility at 42612 Christie Road.

We’ve heard reports of at least one injury. Plymouth has a population of around 300 people.

Over the police scanners, one first responder said a 1.2 billion cubic foot natural gas container exploded, which has created a cloud that is evaporating, and heading towards Plymouth.

911 dispatchers are contacting the Paterson, Kennewick and Umatilla School Districts to bring in school buses to help with the evacuations.

Dispatchers say they’re shutting down Christie Road and Highway 14 surrounding the plant.

Several people living around the Plymouth area, some as far as three miles away, say they felt the explosion and can see the smoke.

We have a reporter headed to the area to learn more. Stay tuned for updates.

Associated Press reports:

1 hurt in natural gas blast at Washington plant

By The Associated Press Updated: Monday, March 31, 2014, 10:36 am Published: Monday, March 31, 2014, 9:38 am

PLYMOUTH, Wash. (AP) — An explosion and fire at a Williams Northwest Pipeline plant near the Washington-Oregon border have injured one worker and prompted evacuations at the facility and at nearby homes.

Company spokeswoman Michele Swaner says all employees were evacuated and accounted for after the explosion Monday morning at the Plymouth, Wash., plant, where liquefied natural gas is converted into vapor. She says one employee was burned but will recover.

Benton County Emergency Operations spokeswoman Carol Cimrhakl says people in a 2-mile radius of the plant are being evacuated.

Tri-City Herald reports Highway 14 through Plymouth is being closed.

The fire was still burning at 10 a.m. Swaner says it’s too early to determine the extent of the damage or how it happened.

Williams operates two liquefied natural gas tanks at Plymouth, which is across the Columbia River from Umatilla, Ore.

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  1. April 1, 2014 12:53 am

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