Piedmont family narrowly escapes flames from Wednesday pipeline burst


PIEDMONT, Okla. (KFOR) – Crews in Piedmont were out picking up the pieces on Thursday after a massive gas line explosion on Wednesday night, near Waterloo and Piedmont Road.

The flames could be seen for miles away– even picked up on our KFOR Skycam.

“It was something out of a movie,” said Grant Christensen, who lives near where fire happened.

The explosion sent flames shooting into the sky and even destroyed part of Waterloo Road.

“I was praying that god would help us get out,” said Joyce Smalling, who was in a car with her family near the explosion.

Clyde and Joyce Smalling were driving home on Piedmont Road when they felt their car start to shake.

“We felt this percussion. She said, ‘what’s that?’ And we felt our car as she was saying this. Then this huge *woosh* and fire was going everywhere. Boulders and rocks. Power lines were popping. Fire was all over the place,” Clyde said.

Rocks and debris came crashing onto their windshield. The couple, along with their granddaughter, narrowly escaped the flames.

“It was just like you’re standing in your kitchen and somebody opens the door on your oven and just slams. That heat is just all over and around you,” Clyde said. “We’re very thankful to be here.”

Christensen and his family live just near the explosion site. He filmed cell phone footage from his back porch. The family then left their home in fear of another explosion. 

“We got out of there as fast as we could, and drove up about a quarter of a mile and just watched it play out,” Christensen said.

His dog, Chester, even disappeared after the explosion. But thankfully found his way back home on Thursday morning.

“This morning we found him in the garage, just all snuggled up in the corner. Happy as can be,” Christensen said. “We’re lucky that we could find him. We’re also thankful that no one was injured and there were no casualties.”

The Piedmont Police Chief says the pipeline, which has been there around 50 years, weakened over time.

“The pipe that’s underneath the roadway, which has been there for a considerable period of time weakened in some fashion— enough that the pressure inside the pipe ruptured the pipe and forced its way up,” said Chief Scott Singer, Piedmont Police Chief.

Power should be restored to the area by Thursday afternoon. Waterloo Road is expected be repaired within the next 48 hours.

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