A pipeline that burst, and sent a chunk of pipe into a tank is believed to be the cause of the rupture and explosion early Monday morning.

Benton County Sheriff's officials say the pipeline ruptured and it appears a chunk of that pipe punctured a tank hold over a billion cubic feet of liquid natural gas.

The rupture created an explosion and cloud that dissipated, the tank continues to drain.  Williams Northwest operates the natural gas facility which includes two liquified natural gas tanks, located across the Columbia River from Umatilla, OR, near Plymouth.

Buses were called in from Kennewick, Umatilla and Paterson Schools to help evacuate citizens in the area.  Some who lived as far as 3 miles away said they felt the force of the explosion and saw the smoke. Due to the plume of gas, the evacuation area was extended to 2 miles around the facility.

According to the latest reports, officials from the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission have responded, and once the site is secured will try to determine the extent of the damage and what specifically caused the incident.

A person who lives in Irrigon, OR across the river reported the force of the explosion nearly blew out the front window of their home, and vibrated the structure for several seconds.

(Information and photo courtesy of KNDU-TV)