(Hinton) -- Two men were injured yesterday afternoon when a massive and powerful
explosion occurred as the result of an earth moving construction crew accidently
hit an underground natural gas pipeline. The men were digging a trench to place
a drainage tile when the explosion happened at about 1:50 p.m. at 31165 Marble
Avenue, about 14 miles south of Le Mars. 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 were kept at bay. Plymouth County Sheriff,
Mike Van Otterloo says the injured men were transported to a local hospital.
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.
The identities of the injured men have not yet been released.
(Le Mars) -- Absentee ballots for the June 5th primary election are available as
of April 26th in the Auditor's office at the Plymouth County Courthouse.
Absentee ballots may be cast in the Auditor's office until Monday, June 4th
until 5:00 p.m. Absentee ballots to be mailed to voters must be requested in
writing. Forms are available at the Plymouth County Auditor's office. Absenee
ballot request forms can be mailed to the Auditor's office at 215 4th Avenue SE,
Le Mars, Iowa 51031. Voters may contact the Auditor's office and an absentee
ballot request form can be mailed to the voter.
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School Board gave its approval for the hiring
of Gabe Tardive (Tar-dev-ee) as the new head football coach for next year. In
other action, the school board approved the new districts for board
representation. The local school board gave its approval for the Iowa
Association for Educational Purchasing to act as an purchasing agent
particularly with food vendors for the school lunch program.
(Orange City) -- On Tuesday, Sioux County sheriff's officials investigated a
report of an assault that occurred at 112 Highland Avenue in Hospers. During
the investigation, deputies found that 36 year old Jessica Van Roekel of Hospers
had committed the assault. There were no serious injuries as a result of the
assault and the victim refused medical treatment. Van Roekel was arrested and
charged with simple assault, a simple misdemeanor.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Democratic legislative leader says he's sending many
of his members home because differences over the state budget are growing and no
end to this year's session is in sight.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters Wednesday that
Democrats want to spend up to $50 million more than Republicans, and the
difference hasn't narrowed despite weeks of negotiations. McCarthy says there's
no reason for most lawmakers to be at the Statehouse, so he sent Democrats home.
House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, a Republican, disagree. He says all sides are
bargaining in good faith and have narrowed their differences.
Senate Democratic Leader Michael Gronstal agreed with Paulsen, saying the
two sides get closer together every time they meet.
The Legislature was scheduled to adjourn more than a week ago.
Major Gas Explosion Injures Two
(Le Mars) -- An earth moving construction crew accidently cut through a natural gas pipeline creating an explosion and a wall of flames that could be seen for miles. The explosion happened at about 1:50 Wednesday afternoon at 31165 Marble Avenue, about 14 miles south of Le Mars. Officials say the construction crew was digging a trench installing a drainage tile line when they hit the gas pipeline. Flames were reaching heights of at least 60 feet in the air and a wall of fire stretched for hundreds of yards, keeping fire and rescue units at bay. Fire and rescue crews from Le Mars, Hinton, Merrill, Kingsley, Lawton, Moville and Woodbury and Plymouth County sheriff's departments had all responded to the scene, along with officials from Mid-American Energy, and Northern Iowa Power Cooperative. Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo says there were two people that were transported to the hospital.
Van Otterloo says the victims suffered burns, but it is believed they are not life-threatening. Van Otterloo says fortunately, the explosion occured in a middle of a farm field, and was not close to any buildings. The flame was extinguished at about 3;10 p.m. after gas company officials were able to shut off the underground pipeline.
Here are some photos taken by KLEM Radio news director Dennis Morrice