Haven Midstream Gas Plant Explosion Injures 2 in Kansas, Officials Order Evacuations

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The City of Haven, Kansas, is under an immediate evacuation order this morning following an industrial explosion and fire that left two people injured Thursday afternoon.

Haven Midstream Explosion Was Heard and Felt for Miles

The April 14th explosion erupted around 1:15 p.m. at the Haven Midstream Plant located along Kent Road in Reno County, about 33 miles outside Wichita. The blast was heard and felt for miles and sent a massive fireball into the sky around the facility.

“I was sitting in the house, and all of a sudden, I heard this noise that I actually thought was a jet or a giant plane above the house, and then I heard an explosion, and I thought something,” one Haven resident told KWCH 12. “Actually, I thought a plane had crashed, and everything in the house was vibrating. I ran out of the house, and flames were shooting out everywhere.”

Paramedics transferred two people to a Wichita hospital, where they were last listed in fair condition. So far, officials have not disclosed the nature of their injuries but have said they are not life-threatening.

Natural Gas Fears Prompt Evacuation Order for City of Haven

The Haven Midstream facility is listed as a cryogenic processing plant by the Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce. The plant takes in natural gas and drops the temperature to subzero temperatures to separate natural gas liquids – ethane, butane, propane, and natural gasoline – from the methane.

A 2-mile radius around the plant was evacuated immediately after the explosion. Although that order was initially lifted Thursday evening, concerns about lingering natural gas in the air prompted officials to reissue the evacuation order shortly before 11:00 p.m. last night. Not long after midnight, the City of Haven announced an expansion of evacuations “due to continued concerns about the gas explosion.”

“No matter your address, if you live within the City of Haven, it is highly recommended that you evacuate for your safety, though this evacuation is voluntary,” the city said.

Reno County authorities have since confirmed that further inspection of the plant revealed 2,000 to 3,000 gallons of trapped liquid natural gas. Because the relief valves have been compromised, another explosion remains a definite possibility.

The evacuation order could remain in place for up to 72 hours. As of early Friday morning, it was not safe for anyone, including fire crews, to be in the area.

ATF Assisting with Haven Midstream Investigation

So far, it’s not known what caused yesterday’s explosion and fire at the Haven Midstream plant.

The Kansas Fire Marshall did request assistance from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), and personnel from the agency were on the scene as of Thursday evening.

“Our Certified Explosives Specialist have advanced, very specialized training in investigating and determining causes of explosions,” an ATF spokesperson said in an email to KSNW. “These Agents and the expertise they bring to this type of investigation are routinely requested by our state and local law enforcement and fire services partners.”

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