(Le Mars) -- We now know the identities of the two men injured in yesterday's
gas pipeline explosion. Christopher De Rocher age 33 of Le Mars, and 28 year
old Jacob Brown of Sioux City were transported to Mercy Medical Center in Sioux
City following that gas pipeline explosion. Hospital officials say both men are
listed in fair condition.
The men were injured yesterday afternoon when a massive and powerful explosion
occurred as the result of an earth moving construction equipement that they were
operating accidently hit an underground natural gas pipeline. The men were
digging a trench on ground owned by Randy Riediger when the explosion happened
at about 1:50 p.m. at 31615 Marble Avenue, about 14 miles south of Le Mars, and
six miles east of Hinton. Flames shot up at least 60 feet in the air and
stretched for hundreds of yards, and could be seen for miles. Witnesses say the
heat from the wall of fire could be felt a half mile away. Fire and rescue
crews from seven different communities responded to the scene, but because of
the intensity of the fire they were kept at bay.
In addition to fire and rescue crews, ambulance units from several communities
also responded as did work crews from Northern Iowa Power Cooperative (NIPCO),
Mid-American Energy, and Northern Natural Gas. The fire was extinguished
shortly after 3:00 p.m. when gas company officials were able to shut off the
gas. Van Otterloo says it was fortunate that the explosion was in the middle of
a farm field and was not near any homes, or farm buildings.