HAVEN, Kan. (KSNW) – Authorities remain on the scene of an explosion northwest of Wichita that left two people injured. It happened just before 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Adam Weishaar, Reno County Emergency Management director, said it was at the Tenawa Haven Gas Plant at Kansas Highway 96 and Kent Road, about a mile west of Haven. Viewers tell us the plant is also called Haven Midstream.
“Responding units on scene reported heavy smoke and flames as well as some explosions,” Weishaar said.
Getting the gas turned off proved to be a challenge.
“The crews had problems accessing the valves that would shut off the gas to the plant because of the heavy smoke and high flames, and it was extremely hot,” Weishaar said.
He said there is no danger to the public, and the fire is contained to the gas plant.
“There is extensive damage to two structures at the Tenawa plant as well as extensive damage to the plant,” Weishaar said.
All of the plant workers have been accounted for. However, two people suffered burns, possibly to their hands and were taken to a Wichita hospital. Weishaar said the injuries are not critical.
The City of Haven said those within the city limits were not evacuated. However, around 9:30 p.m., emergency management urged residents who lived within 1.5 miles of Haven Midstream to evacuate their homes. Nearly 90 people were placed in hotels for the night.
“There was never any danger from the fumes,” he said. “What we’re worried about was the liquid product that is currently burning causing any more explosions and causing issues for the homeowners and businesses.”
Reno County requested help from neighboring fire departments, including Wichita, McPherson, Burrton and Colwich. Weishaar said crews will be on the scene for several hours addressing active flames.
“Crews on scene are currently assessing the product that is still burning and trying to identify that product to get a game plan to put that out,” he said.
According to Weishaar, the best fire hydrant is right on a blind curve on K-96, so for the safety of the firefighters and the public, K-96 was shut down so that crews could have easy access. Drivers were rerouted in both directions from the town.
The ATF was also called to the scene.
All roads have been reopened with the exception of Kent Road from Lake Cable Road to Arlington Road.
Videos from witnesses:
Video from our KSN Storm Track 3 SkyView camera in Hutchinson:
There is no damage estimate yet or word on what caused the blast. Weishaar said the plant will likely be closed for the foreseeable future.
KSN has a crew on the scene and will update this story as more information becomes available.