VIDEOS: Pipeline explodes south of Carlsbad

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EDDY COUNTY, New Mexico - A pipeline explosion south of Carlsbad prompted evacuations early Wednesday morning.

(Photo: Makayla Viehweg)

People are back home, but talk about a wild morning.
Makayla Viehweg lives about a mile away from where the explosion happened. She says it sounded like a jet engine was going off in their front yard.

“The flames were so bright that it looked like daylight,” she wrote in an email to CBS 7. “From inside our home you could hear glass cups in the cupboards rattling and feel the earth shaking.”

The fireball lit up the New Mexico sky around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. Flames could be seen and heard for miles away.

Colton Ridgway was driving home from work when his truck windows began to rattle.

“When it went off, it lit everything up,” Ridgway said. “I looked in my rearview mirror and saw this huge orange ball growing bigger and bigger.”

He pulled over and shot video of the flames and then dialed 911.

“Dispatch said I was one of about 60 people calling in about the fire,” he said.

Ridgway says if he had been just a few seconds later, he likely would not have survived.

“It would’ve gone off right by me. There’s no doubt it would’ve leveled me,” Ridgway said.

At the same time, Viehweg also drove closer to fire.

“You could feel the warmth from the flames even being as far from it as we were and could hear the earth shaking,” she said.

Eddy County Emergency Management had the flames out by 6am and have spent the day investigating.

Authorities confirm the explosion was an oil and gas pipeline. They still have not said what company it belongs to.

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Eddy County emergency responders have been on scene of a pipeline explosion all night. The explosion forced the evacuation of people living south of Carlsbad, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reports.

The newspaper writes that all people living within a two-mile radius of Highway 285 and State Road 31, near Loving, were under a voluntary evacuation notice.

Portions of U.S. 285 and State Road 31 were closed during the initial investigation. Traffic on the highway between Carlsbad and London Road was rerouted.

At about 3 a.m., Eddy County Emergency Manager Jennifer Armendariz said the evacuations remained in effect.

By 4 a.m., Armendariz said residents were asked to "shelter in place," and fire crews were still working to contain the blaze.

"We are working on getting the pipeline shut in," she told the Current-Argus.

She said the reason for the initial call was unknown, but the explosion appeared to be related to nearby oil and gas activities.