MONTGOMERY, Ohio (FOX19) - Flames shot up after a construction crew hit a gas line in Montgomery Wednesday around 3 p.m.
The fire burned for several hours following the accident. Montgomery Road at Cooper and Kennedy remained closed more than three hours after the fire started.
As of 10 p.m., utility crews are still working to repair the damaged gas line, and Duke Energy says they have no timeline for when the repairs will be finished.
Three people were hospitalized by the accident, but authorities say they are expected to be ok.
Craig Russel witnessed the event first-hand.
“A huge explosion, and obviously the flames licked into the air,” Russel said. “I followed the road slightly around and I saw five or six workmen running towards me that luckily escaped what went on.”
Montgomery Fire Department Chief Paul Wright said the fire was so large and hot, “a block-and-a-half away people couldn’t even stand.”
Wright says the firefighting tactics kept the fire down until utility crews were able to cut the gas line around 6 p.m.
Duke Energy says it took so long to isolate the gas line because of how many businesses surround the area where the fire happened. Now the focus is on repairing the line, which is complicated by the amount of water poured on the fire.
“It’s a muddy mess,” Wright said, “so that makes a challenge trying to get something that big out of the way so they can work in that area.”
The construction going on in the area is part of the $7.3 million roundabout at the intersection of Ronald Reagan Highway and Montgomery Road.
Videos from down the road sent to FOX19 Now show how far the flames can be seen from: