Friday, November 6, 2009

A day like no other

At 1:00 am Thursday morning I was awakened by my 13 year old daughter. She had ran into my bedroom saying something was wrong, I think we are having a storm. I bolted out of bed to what I thought was hail hitting our house. I would learn later it was debris. I ran to the front door and looked out to the most surreal sight. It was broad daylight in the middle of the night? Still half asleep, I couldn't understand why it was so light outside. I ran to look out the back door and my blood ran cold.

A wall of flames and the loudest sound I have ever heard. My first thought was a plane had crashed in our back yard. I began screaming for my family to get up. My husband bolts our of bed to see what was going on. We realized that the natural gas line that runs through our community has exploded!

We live 4 streets over from where this fire ball is raging out of control. The pipe line runs right next to our property but has exploded at the pumping station 3 miles from our front door.

We know we need to act fast and throw on some clothes. I tried calling 911 but the lines are jammed and I can't get through. I yell at my husband to get the kids and I run out to try to save our mules. They are going crazy with fright. I can't get them haltered no matter how hard I try. My husband is yelling at me to get into the truck. We've got to get out NOW!

We drive down the street making sure our neighbors are getting out and our friends are safe. We all make it out to the main road. Emergency crews are on the way, the sky is lit with blue and red flashes. The fire is reaching 700 feet in the air. Houses are on fire, the noise is deafening and night has been turned to day. We could feel the heat as soon as we stepped outside. A mandatory evacuation soon followed.

We made it safely to my Mother's house in town. Around 3:00 that morning, the news crew reported the fire was somewhat contained. Thinking we could get back into our home and check on the mules we were not able to take, we head back out. The emergency crews would not let us back in and directed us to the middle school, where the sheriff and fire marshal would meet with us.

All of the families displaced in our community, the red cross, sheriff, and fire marshal all congregated to the commons area in the middle school where we were told we would not be allowed back home until after day break. Safety was the main concern. El Paso Gas employees where in the process of checking all the gas lines for air pockets to ensure another explosion wouldn't happen. Fire crews had contained all of the grass fires.

Around 5:30-6:00 am we were finally allowed back home. We had a home to come home to! No damage and all animals safe. Three families where not so lucky.

The house closest to the pumping station was leveled. The three occupants sustained injuries. One was listed in satisfactory condition in our local hospital. One flown to the burn center in Lubbock and one treated and released. I have heard, by talking to others, that they'll be OK.

The house directly across from the explosion, suffered severe damage. Windows blown out, shingles melted and cars burned. Another family's vehicle was melted as well.

The amazing thing was no fatalities! God was watching over each and every one of us. It will be a long time coming before we're all OK. This was a devastating experience to say the least. But we're alive to tell the tale and that's what matters.

Local News Coverage here.


  1. WOW! I'm glad everyone is ok. That must have been horrible. Thats very sad to hear about the other families and their homes. Did they say what caused the explosion?

  2. At this point El Paso Gas is "investigating" why the explosion occurred. It will probably be several months before we have an answer.