Natural gas pipeline explodes, triggers blaze in Missouri


By Justin Kirschner and Henry Austin, NBC News

A natural gas pipeline exploded in central Missouri overnight Friday, triggering a large blaze.

The blast occurred near Hughesville, Mo., around midnight local time (1 a.m. ET), according to Captain Donald Sattler of the Sedalia Fire Department.

NBC station KOMU reported that the glow from the burning Panhandle Eastern Pipeline could be seen for miles.

Citing a company spokesman, KOMU journalist Mihir Bhagat tweeted that it was a "30 inch natural gas pipeline outside a compressor station that ruptured and exploded."

There were no immediate reports of injuries in Hughesville, which Sattler estimated had a population of "a few hundred."

The cause of the explosion was under investigation. Gas supplies have been rerouted to avoid delivery disruptions to customers, Reuters reported.

The Panhandle Eastern line supplies some of the largest industrial users and power plants in the Midwest with natural gas, the website said. Panhandle is a subsidiary of Southern Union Co., which is owned by Energy Transfer Partners.