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Monday pipeline explosion leaves Warren, Argyle, Minn., without gas service

Almost the entire towns of Warren and Argyle, Minn., are without gas service after a nearby gas line ruptured Monday causing an explosion and large fire.

Viking Gas Transmission Co., which owns the underground gas line, is unable to say when service will restart until its repair plan is approved by regulatory agencies, said spokeswoman Megan Washbourne.

About 900 customers are affected in Warren and Argyle, Washbourne said. The cause of the gas leak is still unknown and under investigation, she said.

No gas service means no hot water or gas-powered appliances, but those are “little inconveniences,” compared to what could have happened if the gas line had exploded in town, Marshall County Sheriff John Novacek said.

Flames from the massive fire shot 100 feet into the air, and a whistling sound could be heard from miles away, witnesses said.

Melody’s Cafe in Warren had to close Tuesday because it has gas ovens, Novacek said. “So, it is affecting some people,” he said.

Some were worried that Warren-Alvarado-Oslo Schools would be in trouble, because there are still classes until Thursday and the schools have gas heat and appliances.

But Superintendent Lon Jorgenson said his food service staff got togetherMonday after hearing the news and found electric appliances to cook lunch for the students.

Jorgenson and Novacek both said everyone they know in Warren is hoping their gas service is returned soon.

Some Viking customers in Thief River Falls also had their service interrupted, but are now receiving service from another provider, Washbourne said.

Charly Haley
Charly Haley covers city government for the Grand Forks Herald. As night reporter, she also has many general assignments. Before working at the Herald, she was a reporter at the Jamestown Sun and interned at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, Detroit Lakes Newspapers and the St. Cloud Times. Haley is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead, and her hometown is Sartell, Minn.
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