Over 40 people were taken to the hospital and 300 residents near Satartia were evacuated Saturday evening after a gas leak that appeared to have been caused by recent heavy rainfall.
Jack Willingham, Yazoo County Emergency Management director, said the swift action of local and neighboring volunteers and first responders prevented any deaths.
“Without those first responders and volunteers, people could have possibly perished,” Willingham said. “This situation could have been worse, and we are thankful no lives were lost. But it was all because of the constant training of our first responders and the relationship we have built with our neighbors.”
A 24-inch pipe transporting carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide used by Denbury for oilfield operations was damaged by the ground caving into a ravine due to the heavy rain. The rupture occurred in a heavily wooded area near Highway 433 near Satartia. Over 300 residents were evacuated, and 47 people are were treated at area hospitals.
Residents in the area complained of green gas and a noxious odor Saturday evening around 8 p.m. Aside from local volunteer fire departments, the sheriff’s department and the city fire department, Willingham said his office was assisted by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, the Mississippi Highway Patrol, Warren County fire and sheriff’s department, the Madison County Emergency Management Agency, Pafford Ambulance Service, Denbury and the National Weather Service.
A temporary shelter was opened at the Yazoo County Middle School for those evacuated from their homes. But Willingham said the threat has been removed from the area, and the shelter was closed the next day after residents were able to return to their homes.