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January 26, 2023
Authorities in Oklahoma are investigating the cause of an explosion at a natural gas plant that rocked Medford on Saturday, causing evacuations and power outages in the surrounding area.
On Saturday afternoon, the ONEOK natural gas plant in Medford burst into flames after an explosion rattled the town and caused evacuations of homes within a 2 mile radius of the plant. ONEOK company executives say there were no fatalities or injuries in the explosion.
Residents say the wind carried black smoke through the area late on Saturday as first responders battled the blaze. The Oklahoman reports firefighters were unable to get to the immediate location of the fire due to heat and other dangers, but set up equipment to battle the flames from a grain elevator on highway 81 near the plant.
Authorities urged residents who lived within 2 miles of the plant to evacuate in case of further explosions or danger from the fire, and caused power outages that lasted several hours.
Residents who were nearby reported feeling the ground shake from the explosion, and those who were further away say the plume of black smoke from the fire was visible for miles.
The cause of the explosion is unclear at this time, but an investigation has been launched by ONEOK officials to determine what led to the Saturday blast. Local authorities offered hotel rooms to residents who had been displaced due to the explosion for the night on Saturday, and offered assistance to anyone who needed it in the wake of the fire. The Red Cross and local churches delivered water to the first responders as they battled the flames.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: KFOR.COM