Evacuated Tekamah residents hope to return home

Posted at 11:41 PM, Oct 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-19 00:41:16-04

Approximately 50 rural Tekamah residents are displaced due to a pipeline leaking anhydrous ammonia.

Some are staying in hotels in Blair, others in Onawa, Iowa as they wait for the all-clear to go back home.

For Sandra Kahlendt and her dog Sadie, they are sleeping at a hotel with others in Onawa. She's been up since 12:30 Tuesday morning, wondering when she can go back home.

"I'm hoping soon," said Kahlendt.

The pipeline company, Magellan Midstream Partners said the pipeline carrying the ammonia broke around 10pm Monday night near Highway 75 and county road P.

Portions of Highway 75 are still closed off because officials say it's too dangerous for drivers to come through this area.

Magellan said they are working on the pipeline to make sure it's safe again.

"Making those repairs is a process that has to be done very carefully with skilled technicians that conduct those repairs," said Bruce Heine.

The pipeline stretches from Texas to Minnesota crossing through Nebraska, right under Debbie Speck's yard.

"We've always known it's there and you always wonder what could happen," said Speck.

But the evacuated women know it could be worse for them, their thoughts are with the family of 59-year-old Phil Hennig who died after driving into the vapor cloud last night.

"It really hurts, I have 4 losses  in a year and hearing another loss  was really hard," said Christine Bucy. "They are real prominent in the neighborhood, and area we had kids and foster kids in our care and they were really big in 4-H, real leaders and, they are real strong in their faith."

Those families displaced don't know when they can return home yet. Heine said it could be sometime Wednesday. 

The investigation into why the pipe burst is still under investigation.