Good news: There was no explosion on Hwy 144 Saturday

An “explosion” during paving Saturday morning on Highway 144 just south of the Greene/Dallas county line and an apparent lack of communication with a flagman doing traffic control created cause for worry Saturday morning.

Fort Dodge Asphalt has been working on a resurfacing of Highway 144, using flaggers and a lead car to keep one lane of traffic open. The job has been delayed due to rain and the crew was working Saturday.

A Greene County resident reported on the Friends of Rippey Facebook page mid-morning that construction equipment had exploded, that police and firefighters were on the scene, and that it was unknown if there were any injuries. The post noted Highway 144 was impassable and suggested motorists use an alternate route.

Greene County auditor Jane Heun during the Monday board of supervisors meeting told a similar story. She said she was between Rippey and Perry when she was told by the flagger that there was an explosion, that there were emergency responders on the scene, and he didn’t know if there were injuries.

Jim Caufield of The Perry News had followed up Saturday on the Facebook “tip”. He learned from Perry fire chief Chris Hinds that a lid had blown off an oil truck because of a clogged pressure release valve. The company didn’t call in a report, as it was only an equipment malfunction, but an alarmed passer-by called 9-1-1.

The Perry and Boone fire departments and a Greene County sheriff’s deputy all responded to the scene and found their services weren’t needed. The road was back to travel on one lane by noon.

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