Three Years Later, Residents Moved on After Gas Pipeline Explosion

Appomattox, VA - Wednesday marks three years since a gas pipeline broke and burst into flames in Appomattox.

The explosion left some injured and even more homeless.

In 2011 at the explosion's epicenter there's an empty field and a few dead trees.

"We had this earthquake the other day with the ground rumbling, and the first thing that come to your mind...the pipeline blew again," said James Smith, whose home was right in front of the explosion.

The gas gushing from the ruptured pipe woke Smith up early that morning in 2008.

"It knocked me back. I fell all the way down the basement stepsthe force of it and I guess the flames," said Smith.

Smith says the fire burned the apples right off the trees in his front yard and melted the vinyl siding off his house.

But some, like Linda Jamerson, lost their home altogether.

She and her family made it out just before the house burned to the ground.

Jamerson's new home was paid for by Williams Gas Pipeline.

She told us the fire was so close that she still has burn marks on her legs.

Since the rupture, Williams Gas Pipeline has made its pipelines stronger and able to withstand the type of corrosion that caused it to burst.

"Our goal is to make sure that what happened there is not forgotten and we're able to take what we learned so that the industry as a whole is a lot safer, said Chris Stockton, a Williams Pipeline spokesperson.

Williams Pipeline workers say the rupture was a tragedy, but it taught them a lot.

Stockton says they even made a training video for first responders on how to handle a pipeline explosion in case it happens again.

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