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Dell Rapids Officials Continues Gas Explosion Investigation

June 10, 2014, 9:55 PM by Jared Ransom

Dell Rapids Officials Continues Gas Explosion Investigation
Gregg Bartling

DELL RAPIDS, SD -

What started as a routine day soon turned into anything but that in one Dell Rapids neighborhood.

"Damaged the gas line, creating the leak. This generally doesn't create an emergency situation, but in this situation, the gas main ignited," Dell Rapids City Administrator Justin Weiland said.

Golden West Telecommunications, which is the city's main cable and internet provider, had crews on the scene with equipment for drilling holes, but Weiland says they don't know for sure if it was their equipment that caused the break.

"Some of those questions we are still gathering information on and aren't ready to answer at this time. What ignited the fire, I don't think that's been determined and I'm sure that'll be studied over the next few days," Weiland said.

For those who live close by, the explosion caused an eventful day.

"We didn't get too close, actually. They had us evacuate about an hour later, so we never got real close after the initial explosion," Michael Mitchell said.

Once Mitchell and his family were able to return shortly before 5:00 p.m, electricity was restored but the gas remained out.

"It was just kind of a freak accident, kind of. Not something you expect to happen," Mitchell said.

While Dell Rapids city officials continue to look into the actual cause of the explosion, they're also exploring different ways to prevent something like this from happening again.

That could mean taking a closer look at an aging infrastructure.

"Buildings on main street are 120 years old. A lot of water and sewer lines in town are 100 years old. Natural gas was probably installed in the community 50 years ago, some of that's probably original infrastructure," Weiland said.

The city manages the sewer and water lines but not the gas line. Any improvements to that will have to come through conversations with private contractors.

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