Special to HNN From a Gov. Tomblin Press Statement

CHARLESTON, WV -Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin surveyed the gas line fire damage first-hand this afternoon in the Pocatalico and Sissonville areas of Kanawha County just hours after the rupture.

            "After looking at the damage, I'm grateful for the quick action of our local and state emergency responders who immediately called for a shelter in place," Gov. Tomblin said.

            Preliminary reports indicate two people suffered minor injuries. Initial damage reports from the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management indicate four homes have been completely destroyed, five homes have suffered significant exterior damage and a community shelter is open at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Sissonville.

The fire seriously damaged Interstate 77, both north and southbound. The Division of Highways has closed Interstate 77 North at the I-77/79 split in Charleston and I-77 South at the Pocatalico Exit. In addition, Route 21 from Charleston to Pocatalico is closed. The Division of Highways is working to pave and re-open portions of the interstate as soon as possible. In the meantime, DOH suggests the following detours.

Southbound traffic: detour in Ripley onto Rt. 62 to U.S. 35 and then to Interstate 64. Southbound traffic can also detour at Parkersburg onto U.S. 50 to Clarksburg to I-79.

Northbound traffic: detour to I-79 to Clarksburg then to U.S. 50. Northbound traffic can also travel I-64 west to U.S. 35 to Rt. 62.

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