Archive for Saturday, February 16, 2008

Oil pipeline explodes, sending flames airborne

February 16, 2008

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— An oil pipeline exploded near the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday, sending flames nearly 400 feet into the air, authorities said.

Firefighters shut the flow of crude oil distillate about 10 miles down the pipeline and were waiting for the rest of the crude to burn off. Officials said it had nearly burned itself out three hours after it began.

Hidalgo County Emergency Manager Tony Pena said there were no injuries, contrary to earlier reports. The pipeline is owned by Hesco, and the cause of the explosion was under investigation.

Farm-to-Market Road 490 west of McCook was damaged by fire and would likely remain closed through the day, Pena said.

Phyllis Pilarcyzk owner of the McCook Trading Post, said she knew little "except it was a big boom." She described the rural farming community in northwest Hidalgo County as "30 miles from anything."

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