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Repairs Underway After Explosion

(Undated) -- Repairs are underway for both the gas pipeline, as well as overhead electrical power lines that were damaged as the result of yesterday's explosion. Mike Loeffler is the spokesman for Northern Natural Gas, a subsidiary of Mid-American Energy. He says the pipeline that was severed during Wednesday's accident was a 24 inch diameter pipeline that goes from South Sioux City, Nebraska to Paullina, Iowa. Loeffler says despite the explosion, there was no loss of service. Listen here

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Loeffler believes repairs will be made within a few days. Cathy Shively of Northern Iowa Power Cooperative or NIPCO says portions of central Woodbury County were without power since their electrical highline wires were damaged, but for only a short time. Listen here

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The NIPCO representative says work crews are on the scene today and will place additional utility poles to help strengthen the line. Listen here

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Loeffler says the explosion probably could have been avoided if only work crews would have called 8-1-1. Listen here

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Injured Men from Explosion Now Identified

(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.
   

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