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Gas Line Explosion, Crews Assess Damage

At the scene of the gas line explosion on Sand Hill Road, at least 100 crew members with huge earth movers worked well into the night.

Utility crews were up in the air repairing charred lines.

An Asheville fireman cut down a huge tree scorched from the gas fire Friday afternoon. Emergency workers kept everyone in the area at least 100 feet away from the tree as it came crashing down.

"The sewer has to be replaced, the gas had got to be replaced," said Eddie Wright with MB Haynes, a subcontractor on the job. "Power lines got to be replaced, new poles set, water lines."

Workers at the site of the gas line were unearthing soil beneath asphalt to assess repairs. The Enka Village neighborhood had no power at 8 p.m., but later Friday evening homeowners were allowed back in.

The explosion happened around 4 p.m. right in front of the Jacob Holm manufacturing company. The company based in Switzerland recently announced a $60 millionexpansion, according to Buncombe County Commission Chairman David Gantt. In 2004, the 220-year-old company, according to Gantt, had a $40 million expansion.  Kelly Klope, with the Asheville Fire Department confirmed the facility got hot, but there was no confirmation if the plant was damaged.  Jacob Holm makes hygiene products like baby wipes and other non-fiber, non-woven products.

By 10:30 p.m. residents had power back. According to Klope, at 10:30 p.m. the gas line repair was nearly complete and road repair work was about to begin. Because it was raining Klope said there could be delays in finishing it until Saturday.

The investigation into what caused the line break is still ongoing.

by Kimberly King
Follow Kim on Twitter @KimKingReports


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