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Gas Explosion: Columbus, Ohio Pizza Shop Destroyed; No One Hurt

ABC News 4 tweeted live video of the Columbia, Ohio, gas explosion.

By    |   Thursday, 22 Dec 2016 02:45 PM

A gas explosion in Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday destroyed a pizza shop in a small shopping center as flames shot in the air 30 feet for two hours.

A construction crew was operating a boring machine to lay conduit under West Broad Street when it struck a high-pressure gas line, the Columbus Dispatch reported. Columbia Gas of Ohio told the Dispatch the crew did contact authorities about the line's location and was given clearance to dig in the area.

After smelling gas, Jeffrey Blackburn, a driver for Domino's pizza restaurant, said he ordered his co-workers to leave after he saw construction workers running away from the scene and a "big bulge and a crack" in the asphalt parking lot.

"The gas was just spraying out," Blackburn told the Dispatch, saying that he piled the workers in his vehicle and left about two minutes before the explosion.

WBNS-TV identified the company working on the line as Team Fishel, which specializes in utility engineering, construction, and network installation services, per its website.

"While performing work at 2857 W. Broad Street in Columbus earlier this afternoon, a Team Fishel crew struck a gas line," the company said in a statement on its website. "The incident resulted in an explosion which impacted a number of local businesses and residents in the area.

"Our teammates responded appropriately and aided in a swift evacuation of the area. We are thankful that there were no serious injuries reported. Our focus right now is on the safety of everyone impacted by this unfortunate incident. Team Fishel is on site working in collaboration with authorities to determine the cause of the incident," the statement continued.

Columbus Fire Battalion Chief Steve Martin told the Dispatch that the first call about the explosion came in about 2:20 p.m. Columbia Gas was able to shut off the line 4:45 p.m. by closing a valve west of the shopping center, pinching off a supply pipe to the fire.

American Electric Power told WBNS-TV more than 550 customers were without power until 7:30 p.m. because of the explosion.

Nick Rees, president and chief executive officer for Buckeye Ranch, which owns the shopping center, told the Dispatch that along with the Domino's restaurant, a storefront that housed a staffing agency was damaged as well. Rees told the newspaper there were no injuries.

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A gas explosion in Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday destroyed a pizza shop in a small shopping center as flames shot in the air 30 feet for two hours.
gas, explosion, columbus, destroys, pizza, shop
Thursday, 22 Dec 2016 02:45 PM
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