Firefighters on gas leak: "Safety and confidence continues to increase"

Firefighters on gas leak: "Safety and confidence continues to increase"
PLYMOUTH, Wash. -- The threat level is lowering for a second explosion at the natural gas plant in Plymouth.

The first blast hurt five people Monday morning.

There are no longer evacuation orders in place for those living near the plant.

A tense mood still hangs in the staging area a couple miles from the Williams natural gas plant in Plymouth.

The number of emergency response workers was cut by about a quarter. First responders still cycled in and out of the plant all day Tuesday, escorting gas workers to assess damage to the giant leaking tank: an arduous process.

"Slower is better, and we just kind of work the problem and keep everyone safe," said Benton County Fire Capt. Jeff Ripley.

While crews were able to put out a fire at the plant late Monday night, we still don't know exactly what cased the explosion in the pipeline in the first place. A voluntary evacuation is no longer in effect, a sign that the danger has subsided.

"As every hour goes by, the chance of anything catastrophic continues to diminish," Capt. Ripley said.

Earlier in the day on Tuesday, people were asked to sign a waiver if they chose to go back into the evacuation zone. It acknowledged the safety risk of going against the evacuation advice.

"I never saw something like this in my town," said Plymouth resident Sergio Madrigal.

He stayed in Oregon with his cousins Monday night, but came back the next morning.

Question: Now even though they still are saying people probably shouldn't be back in town, you came back anyway. Are you feeling pretty safe at this point?

Madrigal: Yeah, I feel safe. I'm not worried. I'm not scared.

Ripley says even though the process is slow, crews are making progress in bringing things back to normal.

"We're looking at maybe another day or two and this is a non-event," he said.

But just how this all started is yet to be determined.

KEPR learned a corporate representative from the gas company arrived Tuesday. She says the safety of workers and emergency crews is paramount.

An estimate on the cost of the damage or loss of gas is still unknown.