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Residents and hundreds of school children in the North Texas city of Milford were evacuated after an 10-inch Chevron natural gas pipeline exploded Thursday morning. No injuries were reported and a several mile radius around the pipeline was blocked off as fire crews allowed the fire to burn off.
According to county officials, crews were drilling at the site southeast of Milford along Cosby Road when a 10-inch pipeline was punctured and exploded. CBS Dallas reports that a second large natural gas pipeline is located just feet away from the burning pipeline.
Chevron has confirmed all employees working at the site are uninjured and accounted for and released the following statement Thursday morning:
"At approximately 9.30 a.m. (CST) today, there was an incident at a Chevron pipeline near Milford, Texas. Chevron has initiated its emergency response procedures and is currently responding to the incident. Chevron’s primary concern at this point is to ensure the safety of its employees and the surrounding community. As soon as there are further details, they will be made available."
The cause of the explosion has not yet been revealed. The drill site is in a rural area with no nearby structures threatened or damaged, however there are several vehicles and a drill rig at the site that have been destroyed by the explosion and fire.
Firefighters from neighboring cities were called in to assist battling the fire, but officials decided it was safer to simply let the contained fire burn out. Officials said late Thursday morning that it may take up to 24 hours for that to happen.
The Texas Railroad Commission said an inspector has been dispatched to the area, but that the pipeline is an interstate pipeline "and falls under the jurisdiction of the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). Representatives of PHMSA are in route from Houston, and Commission staff will remain on location until their arrival to provide continued support as needed."
Milford is located about 50 miles south of Dallas.