Mount Sterling author Cherie Collins has recently written a book about a pipeline explosion that happened in 1961.
The characters in her book are fiction, but the story is very real. Collins was in the car with her mother and older brother near Winchester when a huge gas pipeline exploded.
Collins suffered burns on 50% of her body.
The front cover of her book “Afterheat,” features Collins sitting with her burns, facing the camera. The picture was taken 20 years ago.
“I had always been told to face my scars away from the camera; it was considered that as a girl, the only thing I had was to marry off ya know? A perfect self and I lost that,” Collins told LEX 18’s Richard Essex.
The explosion made national headlines in September of 1961. The explosion was a few hundred feet away from the road.
“I don't know why but the air seemed to go dark a huge rock hit the front of the station wagon so it stopped the car,” Collins said.
The fire surrounded them in seconds. The fields on both sides of the road were on fire. Collins’ brother carried her to safety though the heat of the fire that burned them with every step.
She said she had just turned 10 when the explosion happened.
Investigators at the time concluded the pipeline was old and had not been maintained properly. 50 years later the same pipeline exploded again in almost the same spot.
With the help of a friend Collins also made a documentary in support of the Pipeline Safety Bill. The bill finally passed, but the memories and the scars have not.
Collins is scheduled to read a section of her book January 7, 2016 at the Clark County Public Library.