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Second natural gas explosion lights up the night sky in Washington

February 10, 1997

KALAMA, Wash. (AP) _ A natural gas pipeline exploded Sunday, sending a fireball into the night sky, the second such incident in Washington state over the weekend.

The blast happened in a rural area north of Kalama, 35 miles north of the Oregon border, and the glow could be seen 30 miles away, said Cathy Batchelor of the Cowlitz County emergency management department.

The fire was put out within two hours.

Close to the explosion, the blast turned night to day.

``That whole area was lit up like daylight,″ said Mike Nordvick, who lives near the blast area.

A trailer park near the fire was evacuated.

Sunday night’s explosion was the second break in two days in a Northwest Pipeline Corp. line in Washington state.

On Saturday night, a natural gas pipeline explosion sent a towering flame into the sky at the opposite end of the state, near the Canadian border.

The fire from the Saturday night explosion was nearly out on Sunday.

A 26-inch pipeline ruptured, shaking homes in near Everson, five miles south of the Canadian border, and flaming gas roared 300 feet into the air.

There are no homes in the area and no one was injured.

The blast came from a high-pressure pipeline in a sparsely populated area just outside Everson, said John Nicksich, a spokesman for Northwest Pipeline Corp.

``We don’t know the cause and we may not for some time,″ Nicksich said from company headquarters in Salt Lake City.

The fire was visible up to 40 miles away in British Columbia and the explosion could be heard 12 miles to the southwest in Bellingham.

``I was in the living room with my cat when we heard the boom,″ Bellingham resident Mary Alex told KING-TV of Seattle. ``We thought it was Mount Baker blowing up.″

The Cascade Natural Gas Corp., which serves Whatcom County, did not have service disrupted, Nicksich said.

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