MCPHERSON, Kansas – Officials say a gas leak has closed Highway 56 in Conway. Conway is located west of McPherson.
According to officials, butane was leaking. Highway 56 is shut down between 4th and 8th avenues. There are no injuries reported.
Traffic on Highway 56 in western McPherson County is being rerouted southward to Comanche.
William Energy officials are still investigating what happened. We know that a employee noticed a vapor cloud around 11:30 a.m., coming from an underground storage area.
The plant is in a rural area, so no threat to any residents. We were told they’ve set up six haz-gas monitors in the area, to determine the level of hazard. The company says, levels are not showing “flammable readings”, meaning right now, there’s no serious concern for that gas igniting.
The company is looking for answers as to how it happened.
“It came from inner connecting pipelines underground. At this time, we’re still investigating the incident. We don’t know where it came from as of yet,” said Williams Energy safety specialist, Tyler Whorton.
Kansas Highway Patrol was concerned about the commercial traffic coming through the area, so they shut down the highway.
“This is more of precautionary nature to make sure if something were to develop worse then maybe what it is now, not that it’s really that worse, but just to make sure that we are accountable to a leak and to address that leak now,” said Kansas Highway Patrol, Trooper Ben Gardner.
Whorton plans to stay on the scene all night, to keep an eye on the levels.
Highway 56 is likely to remain closed all night.
Here’s the press release KSN News received from Williams Energy plant.
At approximately 11: 30 a.m. CST today, a section of pipe associated with an underground storage cavern at the Williams-operated Conway storage complex began to vent an unknown quantity of normal butane.
Williams immediately notified local emergency responders and isolated a two-mile perimeter around the complex.
Williams shut down the system and isolated the cavern which ended the venting at approximately 12:00 p.m. CST.
There were no injuries as a result of this incident.
The immediate area around the complex remains closed until the company’s investigation is complete. Highway 56 in McPherson County near the Williams facility is closed.
The Conway storage facility is located near McPherson, Kan., and owned by Williams Partners L.P.