Randy McIlwain, NBC 5 News
Some residents of Milford were escorted to their homes Friday as a nearby Chevron pipeline continued to burn. Ellis County sheriff's deputies were accompanying residents who needed to retrieve medication or check on pets. Homeowners were only allowed to stay briefly.
Residents evacuated from a small North Texas town because of a gas pipeline rupture and fire are not expected to return to their homes on Friday.
Officials said Friday afternoon that the decompression and burnoff of the gas line was progressing, but that they didn't expect Milford's residents would be permanently back in their homes by sundown.
"Emergency management personnel and Chevron will make that determination, and they'll let us know when to remove barricades and let people back in," said Ellis County Sheriff Johnny Brown.
Some residents have been allowed to return to their homes Friday, for only a few minutes and only under a police escort, to retrieve medicine or to check on pets.
Many of the evacuated residents are staying with friends and family or local hotels. About three dozen people have taken shelter at Italy High School.
Late Friday afternoon, officials with Chevron said they are working to remove product from the line and that process, which includes igniting the product in the pipeline, may cause flares. The flares may be visible, but will not pose a risk. Crews are capping a 14-inch line on the east and west sides of the pipeline about two miles from the site of the explosion. After it's capped, they'll burn off the gas inside the pipeline.
Chevron set up a claims telephone hotline for affected residents: 1-855-276-1272
Pipelines such as the one in Ellis County can be found all over Texas.
You can take a closer look at the pipelines in your area on the Railroad Commission's website. The interactive map includes information and location coordinates for oil wells, gas wells and pipelines.
To see pipelines on the map, click on the "Visibility tab" on the upper-left-hand corner and select "Pipelines."
More information on map and the data can be found on the Railroad Commission's website.
Milford is a small town along Interstate 35E, northeast of Hillsboro in southern Ellis County. It is about 50 miles south of Dallas.
NBC 5's Jeff Smith, Ray Villeda, Randy McIlwain, Amanda Guerra, Shane Allen and Eva Parks contributed to this report.