A large explosion that occurred at 8:22 a.m. PDT on Monday rocked a rural farming community in southern Washington State. The blast, which could be heard 20 miles away, took place at Northwest Pipeline, a subsidiary of Williams Partners, in Plymouth, an unincorporated community located in the Tri-Cities metropolitan area and 230 miles southeast of Seattle. Flames reached 30 feet into the air, and black smoke poured from the blast site. The smell of gas that emanated from one of this area's largest industrial explosions in recent memory caused many residents who were situated within a mile of the site to become nauseous. The explosion also created a fire that was extinguished a couple of hours later. Fourteen of the company's employees were on site when the blast occurred, and all have been accounted for. Five of those individuals were injured. One was taken to a hospital in Portland, Ore., and treated there after suffering non-life-threatening burns to his hands and face, while the other four were treated at and released from a hospital in Hermiston, Ore., a city located 10 miles away on the other side of the Columbia River. These employees may decide to request the services of an industrial explosion lawyer to protect their rights and receive just compensation for any lot wages and medical bills.. The explosion sent shrapnel into a nearby 15-million-gallon tank that was nearly half full of super-cold liquefied natural gas. The two holes that were formed caused the tank to leak at a slow but worrisome pace as a second and much larger explosion would have resulted if the vaporized natural gas was mixed with the right amount of oxygen and ignited. For these reasons, about 1,000 residents and agricultural workers were evacuated, and nearly 100 of those went to the Umatilla County Fairgrounds in Hermiston where the American Red Cross provided food, water and shelter. Few were expected to stay the night, however. People were kept away from a 2-mile radius surrounding the blast site until Tuesday when that radius was reduced to 1 mile and then removed entirely later in the day other than for the plant itself and a nearby intersection. These reductions took place once it became clear that the chances of a second explosion were slim. A nearby portion of the Columbia River and railroad tracks in Plymouth had also been closed on Monday, but they have since reopened. After crews finish plugging up the tank's two holes, they will start determining what caused the initial explosion. It is believed that the blast took place in a storage building. The groups heading this investigation are the Department of Labor & Industries and the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC). Emergency personnel, firefighters and authorities will remain in the area through at least Wednesday to ensure that the area is safe and that residents and others are taken care of. Residents were warned upon returning to their homes to avoid any perlite, a chemical that has the appearance of dust that may have settled in the area. It can cause irritation if touched and aggregate respiratory conditions if inhaled. This facility provides supplemental gas when the demand is high. It opened in 1975 and is inspected on an annual basis by the UTC. Its last inspection in November was clean. In fact, Michele Swaner of Williams Partners told the Tri-City Herald that her company goes beyond what is required and ensures that all of the company's pipelines are well-maintained and regularly inspected. Tank ruptures are rare, and one had not occurred in the Tri-Cities area in the past several decades. However, when they do occur, workers at these plants may require the services of a refinery explosion attorney.