Small Town Residents Allowed To Return After Fiery Blast

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MILFORD (November 16, 2013) Most of the hundreds of residents forced to evacuate after a pipeline explosion Thursday just outside of the small Ellis County town of Milford were being allowed to return home Saturday afternoon.

Milford's residents were forced out of their homes Thursday and many ended up in nearby Italy.

Officials reduced the evacuation zone around the explosion site from 1.5 miles to a half mile Saturday.

A small residual fire was still burning at the site of Chevron’s ruptured 10-inch liquefied petroleum line and flaring started Saturday to eliminate whatever remains in a nearby 14-inch pipeline, officials said.

Residents may see flames as the flaring continues, officials said.

Air quality in the area is within normal ranges, officials said.

The town of more than 700 was evacuated Thursday after a drilling crew accidentally punctured the 10-inch line.

Initially officials were concerned about fumes from the fire, but the focus later shifted to a nearby 14-inch Chevron pipeline.

Chevron requested the 1½-mile evacuation zone for Milford, which remained in effect until Saturday.

The company said it provided overnight hotel accommodations for the evacuated residents.

The first round six-man playoff game between Milford (8-2) and Cranfills Gap (5-4), which was originally to have been played at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Clifton, was rescheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday because players weren’t able to get their gear Friday.

Some of the town’s residents were escorted back to their homes Friday to retrieve medication and check on pets.

Ellis County sheriff’s deputies accompanied the residents, who were allowed to stay for only a brief time.

Chevron set up a claims telephone hotline for affected residents, who can call 1-855-276-1272

The company issued a statement Saturday in which it again expressed its regret to those affected by the explosion and to thank “the Milford community for their patience and understanding.”

(Courtesy photo)