AMES, Okla. — A natural gas line southeast of Ames exploded, shaking the area and startling nearby residents early Thursday morning, Feb. 18, 2021.

Around 5:23 a.m., an underground gas line exploded and sparked a fire about a mile and a half east and 4.5 miles south of the Major County town, said Ames Fire Chief Mike Willey.

Willey said it was either a 6- or 8-inch natural gas line and had about 600 or 800 pounds of pressure on it. Gas companies had shut off the pressure this morning, and the fire is now out.

No injuries were reported, Willey said, adding five departments were paged out, but only Ames and Meno fire departments were able to handle the blaze.

Willey, who lives less than a mile away from where the gas line exploded, said the explosion "rattled our house really hard."

Even closer to the explosion was the home of Kathie Stocksen, who lives between a quarter and half-mile away. She said Thursday morning she still was trying to recover from the shock of the explosion that was “nearly just in my back yard.”

“It was horrible,” she said. “I sounded like a freight train had crashed. I didn’t know I could shake so bad. I thought I was going to be cooked.”

She said her family had already left for work in Enid, and she was home alone when the explosion happened across the road and to the south. She was not aware of any property damage on her end.

Willey said the only damage, other than the line, to the property appeared to be fence line, as the owners had moved their cattle a few weeks prior.

He said the department quickly blocked the area surrounding the explosion, and that the fact that it was burning, and not just spewing dangerous gas, was a good thing.

He said they have not determined the cause but speculate the cold weather possibly caused a shift in the line that caused it to ignite.

Whatever the cause, Stocksen said she is grateful that the departments were able to bring it under control.

“I think I’m still in shock,” Stocksen said. “Thank goodness I’m OK, but I never want to go through that again.”

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Kelci McKendrick is police and court reporter for the Enid News & Eagle. Digital communications coordinator Violet Hassler contributed to this story.
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