(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
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Thank you for your patience. We are in the process of updating the information on our website. Check back this afternoon for news updates, including photos on the gas line rupture on Marble Avenue south of Le Mars that occured just before 2 this afternoon.