Haven residents thankful to be home after nighttime evacuations due to factory explosion


HAVEN, Kan. (KWCH) – Evacuations were lifted in Haven on Friday morning after a large explosion Thursday afternoon at the Haven Midstream Gasworks. Coming home was filled with relief for many residents of the small town in southeastern Reno County.

Evacuation orders issued Thursday night forced people to quickly pack up their belongings and leave the city. Reno County Emergency Management warned evacuations could take three days. That order was lifted after less than 12 hours, a welcome turn of events for the 50-60% of people living in Haven who followed recommended, but not mandatory, advice to evacuate.

Reno County covered expenses for people to stay in hotels while others went to stay with family out of town. Allowed to return around 6am on Friday, residents grateful to be back in the comfort of their homes had a chance to reflect on a day full of surprises, the biggest of which was the fire and explosions at the Haven Midstream Gasworks. .

“It looked like a plane was flying over the school when it exploded at first,” said Haven resident Jillian Beckler.

The next surprise came late Thursday night with the evacuation orders.

“Police everywhere, they were going door to door,” Beckler said.

Around 9:30 p.m., emergency crews became concerned about a trapped pocket of liquefied natural gas.

“They said it might be a bigger explosion than [the afternoon]said resident Jonathan Hargrave.

Savannah resident Reihs said cars were “going like everywhere” with much of the city trying to evacuate immediately.

“I think we left at midnight or something,” Beckler said. “We packed up and drove to Wichita, picked up a hotel and spent the night there.”

Now that the evacuees are home, they hope to rest.

“Tiring, [because] we really didn’t sleep by the time we got there, start chilling, it was about 2-3.

Relief in Haven also comes knowing that the situation surrounding the explosion and fire could have been worse and that the still burning fire is largely under control.

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