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WV congressional delegation issues response to gas line explosion

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West Virginia's congressional delegation released statements Tuesday evening in response to the natural gas explosion near Sissonville in Kanawha County.

U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., is chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee.

"I'm in close contact with state and federal officials, as well as the company involved. It's important that the National Transportation Safety Board is launching a team imminently to conduct a thorough investigation into how and why this happened, and that the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration will soon have someone on the scene. I will continue monitoring today's developments, with hope for everyone's continued safety, as we await a determination of the cause of this accident."

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., from the Second Congressional District called the images "shocking."

"My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the blast and the first responders who have been called to the scene. I ask that residents follow Officials' directions and those who have been asked to evacuate, do so.

"I have asked the National Transportation Safety Board to keep me fully apprised of the investigation into the explosion and have been told that the NTSB and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration have both launched investigations into the pipeline accident."

And U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he was thankful that no deaths were reported as a result of the explosion.

"We are so grateful that our first responders rushed to the scene to make sure the devastation did not spread out of control. We congratulate you on your hard work, dedication and immediate response to such an alarming incident.

"To all of the families who have been impacted today, know that I am talking to the appropriate local, state and federal authorities. I am anxiously waiting to hear exactly how this happened and to make sure this will not happen again any place else in the state. My thoughts and prayers, along with Gayle's, are with the affected citizens of Sissonville and its residents today."