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Major Explosion At Texas Gas Pipeline

By: 
Sky News Online

7:31am UK, Tuesday June 08, 2010

Katie Cassidy, Sky News Online

A construction worker died and eight others were injured when a punctured natural gas pipeline exploded in Texas, officials have confirmed.

Cleburne City Manager Chester Nolen initially said that the blast had killed three people and left 10 missing near Cleburne, some 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of Dallas, Texas.

A crew building power lines struck the pipeline, unleashing an explosion and a huge fireball that shot hundreds of feet into the sky, according to officials.

The fire raged for hours, fueling a massive plume of smoke and scorching the area before it was finally extinguished.

Johnson County Emergency Management Coordinator Jack Snow confirmed the final fatality and injury count.

"We do know it started when they were drilling a hole for a large electrical pole, one of the big metal ones, and they struck a natural gas pipeline and that triggered the explosion," Snow said.

Emergency crews found the body of a subcontractor who had been missing after the blast.

The explosion threw his body about 200 yards from the site, according to Snow.

The injured eight workers were transported to hospital, with most suffering from minor burns.

Footage from the scene showed a huge fireball and acres around the facility in Cleburne in Johnson County severly scorched.