Clarke County Explosion Kills Two, Destroys Homes

The explosion of a propane pipeline in Clarke County, Miss., killed two people Thursday, injured several others, and damaged several dwellings.

Officials said at least sixty families have been displaced.

The explosion happened on the Dixie Pipeline, near the Carmichael community, in southeastern Clarke County around 10:30 a.m.

Everyone within a one-mile radius around the blast site was being evacuated. Evacuees were asked to go the Carmichael Community Center.

Clarke County Sheriff Todd Kemp said it is unknown when displaced families would be able to return to their homes.

"We've got a 10-mile stretch of pipeline that is uphill, downhill. And I don't know about cubic feet of gas but I'm sure there's a lot that's going to have to trickle downhill to burn off," said Kemp.

Kemp said he expects there will be inspections in the future to see if there are any other leaks or ruptures.

"What we see happened as far as this gas line, it must have leaked and leaked down into the bottom and then it had some ignition to start it. And it was a flash over, looked like at once," said county supervisor Tony Fleming. "And everything in its path got burned."

Red Cross and Salvation Army established a shelter at Carmichael Community Center for displaced residents. Some chose to stay with family. Some stayed the night in hotels paid for by the Red Cross.

Ed Brown of the Mississippi Forestry Commission said the explosion and ensuing fires burned 150 acres of timber and pasture land.

The gas is expected to burn through the night and into Friday.

The National Transportation Safety Board is sending an investigative team to the site Friday to begin the process of finding what caused the explosion.