CLEBURNE, Texas - Three people were killed and several others injured after a natural gas line in north Texas erupted Monday, spewing a massive flames into the air, officials said.
Cleburne City Manager Chester Nolen told The Associated Press that at least three people died "and there could be more." An unknown number of people remain unaccounted for, he said.
The heat was "unbearable," even 300 yards from the flames, Nolen said. A column of gray smoke was visible miles away.
Nolen said workers apparently hit the gas line near Cleburne, located about 50 miles south of Dallas, while working on a communications line.
About six people were transported by air or ground ambulance to hospitals, Johnson County Emergency Management Coordinator Jack Snow, said.
Laura Harlin, a resident of nearby Granbury, said he heard a "huge rumbling" that initially sounded like thunder and then like a tornado because it lasted so long.
"For about 10 minutes, it was so loud that it was like there was an 18-wheeler rumbling in your driveway," she said.
Television images showed a large fireball and a burned out vehicle and construction equipment.
Glen Rose Medical Center confirmed to NBC News that five people arrived at their emergency room suffering injuries from a gas explosion in Johnson County, Texas. A hospital spokesman said those injured were in stable condition.
A spokeswoman for the Texas Railroad Commission told The Dallas Morning News the gas line is operated by Enterprise Products in Johnson County.
“The Commission will be investigating the cause of this incident, including preliminary reports that there was third-party damage (digging into underground pipelines) as power poles were being installed in the area,” spokeswoman Ramona Nye told the paper in an email.
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