Gas explosion forces Wyoming town to evacuate

Published: Wednesday, April 23 2014 10:05 p.m. MDT

An explosion at a Williams gas plant caused the small town of Opal, Wyo., about 67 miles east of Utah, to evacuate Wednesday, April 23, 2014.

Jay Dortzbach, Deseret News

OPAL, Wyo. — An explosion at a Williams gas plant caused a small town about 67 miles east of Utah to evacuate.

Police received a call of an explosion late Wednesday afternoon, according to Lincoln County public information officer Stephen Malik. The plant and the town located in southwest Wyoming were evacuated.

"There have been no injuries reported at this time, and all the evacuations and everything right now are just as a precaution in case fire spreads to any of the other areas," Malik said.

Those who were evacuated were sent east of Opal. Officials are figuring out long-term shelter for evacuees.

There are many gas facilities around the town, including natural gas, refineries and pump stations. The town of fewer than 100 residents mostly comprises those who work in the oil industry.

Investigators are still working to determine the cause of the explosion.

The plant has not had any problems in the past, Malik said.

— Whitney Evans

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