By Daniel Thompson

Gas line explodes near the Bushnell area


A loud boom rocked residents north of the Bushnell area out their peaceful slumbers in the early hours of Saturday, May 4, as a gas line burst in Kimball county.

Kimball County Highway Superintendent Dave Hottell brought the matter to the attention of the Board of County Commissioners at their May 7 meeting.

According to Hottell, he discovered people working on the line as he was driving around inspecting the county roads.

“There’s a gas line that runs catty corner across the county. It’s like a 20 inch gas line, and in the middle of the night, that gas line exploded underground,” Hottell said.

According to Hottell and the reaction of residents who live near the area of the explosion which was said to occur around the area where County Road 17 and County Road 47 meet in Kimball County, this was no small incident.

“It was a big enough explosion that neighbors for miles around there were calling each other to see if somebody’s house had exploded. When I got there, they had dug it all up so I didn’t see how much it had blown out of the ground, but I’m sure it had blown a lot out of the ground,” Hottell said.

Little is known about the line itself besides the few details that Hottell could provide to the board.

“This [line] got put in in 1950 as an oil transfer and then it got changed to a gas line,” Hottell said.

The cause of the explosion of the line is also unknown at this time.

“I’ve never heard of one just exploding under ground like that, but they don’t know whether it was a thin wall in the pipe or something that didn’t hold or what,” Hottell said.

However, the exact location of the line and its path across Kimball County remains unclear. It was not known at the commissioner’s meeting who exactly had been in charge of the gas line.

According to reports, it is assumed to be a company unaffiliated with Kimball County government agencies.

According to both Attorney Robert Brenner and County Zoning Administrator Sheila Newell, the company assumed to be in charge of the line had contacted the county in order to get approval for certain actions concerning the line with their request being denied.

“They kept telling me what they’re going to be doing, and I kept very professionally telling them ‘I don’t think so’,” Sheila Newell said.

According to Brenner, the company also lacked the approval of the oil and gas commission.

“The oil and gas commission says they’re not having anything to do with it,” Brenner said.

Kimball County officials plan to look further into the matter in order to determine the cause and implications of the explosion in the line will have on the county as a whole.

However, no further information was available at press time.


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