Ten people are reportedly missing after an explosion a in a rural area near Cleburne, in north-central Texas.
Smoke and “leaping flames” were visible for miles in Johnson County, witnesses report, and a giant plume of fire and a fireball were both spotted. Johnson County Emergency Management Coordinator Jack Snow said he did not have details regarding the explosion, which occurred at around 2:30 pm local time. Snow said he believed that the massive fire began when digging equipment struck a natural gas pipeline.
Witnesses reported flames shooting two to three hundred feet into the air. Local first responders spoke to CNN about the situation at the scene:
Several people were burned, and “we’ve got an unknown number of people still unaccounted for,” Cleburne Fire Chief Clint Ishmael said.
Crews could get no closer than 600 yards to the source of the fire, he said.
“There’s no way we can try to put this fire out,” Ishmael said.
At least six people have been transported to local hospitals, and a local news station reports that three people have been confirmed to have died in the blast.