KNIFLEY, KY (WAVE) - Gas pipelines are part of the under-scape for residents of a tiny community in Adair County. The pipes had been no trouble, until the Big Bang February 13.
Midday on Thursday the doorbell tolled for more than snacks at Patterson's Bait and Grocery. Neighbors were stopping to chew over the big bang that happened less than a mile away.
"It sounded like a sonic boom from a jet," retiree Ricky Harden said. "I saw a fireball go, looked like to me 2-300 foot in the air."
"It made me sit up in my bed," said Jamie Patterson. "The room was orange from the light from the fire."
Kathy Pelly's ears told her all she needed to know. "'Shew, shew' you could hear the gas going through the line, underground," she said.
Columbia-Gulf's #200 pipeline had exploded. While some residents ran for their cameras, Patterson snapped up her 6-year-old daughter Kayli in a blanket.
"She covered her ears," Patterson said. "She said ‘Mommy lets go find a place to hide!"
Neither Patterson's, Pelly's or Harden would need to hear the order from Emergency Management officials, nor see the 60-feet-deep crater the explosion created, to heed instincts to evacuate homes and community.
"I thought it might have been the fuel here," Patterson said, referring to the 10,000 gallons of gasoline and diesel that the family business stores above ground.
But Knifley, population 400, and Adair County, home to more than 18,000, have more than one natural gas pipeline running through them.
"I got one about 30 yards behind my house," Harden said. "One about 35 to 40 in front of my house."
"There's Texas Eastern, Duke (Energy), Columbia-Gulf," store owner Kenny Patterson recited – all the while wondering aloud, whether he was hearing warning signs the past two nights.
"Our house has popped, you know - apparently once an hour - something like that," he said. "But we thought it just might be the temperature dropping and ice freezing on the porch."
The firefight took seven hours, six cars, two barns and two homes. One home's owners were treated for minor injuries.
Many of Patterson's customers know one another by their nicknames. All are anxious for answers.
"Kinda makes you wonder, if it happened there, it could happen anywhere," Kathy's husband, Terry Pelly said.
That's enough to give Jamie Patterson second thoughts, though her husband's store has stood at Knifley's main crossroads for two generations.
"I told him this morning," she said, "If he wanted to put a for sale sign in the yard, I was all for it!"
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