Home destroyed in gas line explosion that forced evacuations

New video shows home after it was destroyed by exploding gas line

CENTER TOWNSHIP, Pa. — UPDATE Tuesday 6 p.m.: Homeowner Sam Rosati showed Channel 11 close up photos of his property to see what the explosion did to his house.

"There is nothing left," Rosati said.

He, his wife and his 10-year-old niece who lives with him have no home and aren't going back.

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"The wife won't allow it. She's too shaken up. We will not be moving back or rebuilding," Rosati said.

Energy Transfer officials are still leaning towards a landslide and heavy rain as the cause, but they continue to investigate.

UPDATE 11 p.m.: The owner of the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners, said the line wasn't at full service yet.

It was in the process of being commissioned in the last week, meaning the gas was in the line but it was not at a full pressure.

"We are thinking there was a landslide that was the instigation for the incident today," said Vicki Granato, the vice president of communication for Energy Transfer Partners.

And while that's not the officials cause yet, they now plan more inspections along the line.

"We will be inspecting the full line and looking at maybe at any other areas where with all of the rains, there may be other areas we need to take another look at," Granato said.

UPDATE 8:40 p.m.: Energy Transfer officials are in town to being their investigation.

UPDATE 5 p.m.: Energy Transfer officials told Channel 11 they're looking into whether a landslide may have caused the explosion.

All of the people that were evacuated can now return to their homes.

Homeowner Sam Rosati learned through a Facebook video that his house burned to the ground.

"I heard a loud noise, the whole house shook, the windows rattled. I thought it was an earthquake," Rosati said.

Energy Transfer Partners, out of Texas, runs the pipeline and has an investigative team on the ground right now.

The company tells Channel 11 initial site assessment reveals evidence of earth movement near the pipeline, but there's no clear-cut cause yet.

UPDATE 12:30 p.m.: People evacuated during the gas line explosion in Beaver County, except for those who live on Ivy Lane and Pine Street, have been allowed to return to their homes, Beaver County Emergency Services tweeted.

Evacuees woke up to the loud sound of the explosion and flames that cast a bright orange glow in the sky above Center Township. Some said it sounded like a plane crash or a bomb.

A house was destroyed. The people who lived there got out safely.

Two garages were also destroyed, and multiple cars were burned.

“There was a threat. It was immediate. Had this fire continued to burn out of control, there would’ve been more residual damage,” Center Township Fire Chief Barry Kramer said. “Main priority was public safety, and that is what the police department and fire department did.”


People living within a half-mile radius of the explosion were evacuated, but the fire could be seen for miles.

“Got up like 5 o’clock this morning. I seen the whole sky lit up. I thought I was late for work,” Fortunato Luca, a resident, said.

Fire officials said the rain prevented the fire from spreading to nearby wooded areas.

UPDATE 10:37 a.m.: The fire ignited by Monday morning's gas line explosion in Center Township burnt itself out after an automated system shut down the valves, officials said.

The 24-inch independent gas line opened Sept. 3 and runs from northern Butler County to Bulger, Pennsylvania. Officials said it is buried about 3 feet below the surface.

Energy Transfer released the following statement:

"We did experience an incident this morning on a 24-inch natural gas gathering line in Beaver County, PA. There were no injuries. This incident, which occurred at approximately 5 a.m. Eastern time was detected by out monitoring system, which triggered the closing of valves to isolate the line. By around 7 a.m., the fire on the pipeline had extinguished itself.
"There were evacuations from several homes in the area. All the appropriate regulatory notifications have been made. We do not know the cause of the incident at this time, however, a through investigation will be conducted.
"We have activated a toll-free phone number for people who have experienced property damage. That number is 800-445-5846. We will provide updates as information becomes available."

No environmental issues are associated with the explosion and fire, officials said.

One home and two garages were destroyed, and multiple cars were burned.

Peoples Gas -- although the line is not associated with the company -- is checking meters of evacuated homes before it is determined when residents can return.

The Red Cross has responded to assist people displaced.

Six high-tension towers collapsed, likely subsequent to the fire, officials said. As a result, about 1,500 power outages were reported in the region.

It is unclear when power will be restored.

UPDATE: 7:35 a.m.: One home and two garages were destroyed, and multiple cars were burned when a natural gas line exploded early Monday morning in Center Township, officials said.

The explosion, which occurred in a line owned and operated by Energy Transfer, led to the evacuations of 25-30 homes. Many residents went to the fire hall on Brodhead Road.

No one was injured in the explosion, but some people required medical attention because of health issues, officials said.

About 5:52 a.m., the pipeline company told officials that valves were shut off, but it took time for the remaining gas in the line to burn off.

During the explosion, power lines fell and blocked Bunker Hill Road. Power companies have been called to de-energize the lines and remove them.

UPDATE 6:19 a.m.: Central Valley School District is closed Monday, and "there will be no bus transportation for non-public, parochial, or charter schools today, according to the district's website.

ORIGINAL STORY: A gas line explosion has sent flames shooting into the sky in Beaver County, officials said.

The explosion was reported about 5 a.m. in the area of Ivy Lane in Center Township.

Channel 11's Mike Holden reported evacuations are underway.

We have a crew heading to the scene and will have updates on Channel 11 Morning News.