A natural gas pipeline under construction.

A natural gas pipeline rupture and explosion forced the evacuation of about 130 people Tuesday night in Lycoming County.

The rupture occurred on a 24-inch natural gas pipeline owned by Williams, the pipeline company that wants to build a 42-inch gas pipeline through 36.5 miles in Lancaster County as part of the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project.

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Lance Latham, a spokesman for the Oklahoma-based Williams, said that “emergency shutdown equipment worked properly to quickly stop the flow of gas and isolate the section of line where the failure occurred. As a safety precaution, local emergency response personnel evacuated some nearby residents.”

 There were no reports of injuries.

According to WNEP, a television station in Scranton, about 130 people were taken to two nearby fire stations. The evacuation order was lifted just before midnight.

The cause of the pipe failure has not been determined, Williams said.

“A full investigation will be conducted in coordination with appropriate regulatory agencies to determine the cause of the incident,” Latham said.

 “We will work closely with federal and state authorities to determine the cause of the incident and take necessary steps to ensure the operational integrity of our pipeline system.”

The rupture occurred at 9:40 p.m. in Jordan Township, near Unityville and  Lycoming’s border with Columbia County. There was initially a fire, but it was put out, WNEP reported.

One person described the sound of the explosion “like an airplane crash” that shook his house and rattled windows.

“It was very loud, kind of a roar, almost a little bit like an explosion followed by a loud roar,” Dan Jankowski, Benton Borough emergency management coordinator, told WNEP.

The proposed Atlantic Sunrise project includes 183 miles of new greenfield pipe, including 36.5 miles in Lancaster County.

Its goal is to transport Marcellus Shale gas from the fractured drilling fields in northern Pennsylvania to Eastern Seaboard states and for shipment overseas.

The project is currently being reviewed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is expected to make a decision in about a year.

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