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Gas line explodes in Texas, causing fire; two construction workers injured

A gas line exploded near McKinney, Texas, on Tuesday.

A ruptured gas line that caught fire and sent flames 50 feet into the air Tuesday morning in McKinney, Texas, has been put out, but not before injuring two people and damaging several vehicles.

The gas line explosion was first reported at about 8:45 a.m. local time at a construction site along state highway 121 in Collin County. Flames could be seen burning from about 15 miles away.

According to the McKinney Fire Department, a six-person Atmos Energy crew was working in the area when they ruptured a six-inch gas line with a backhoe.

Witnesses described hearing the gas and the explosion that followed afterward.

"There was a big hiss and we were running around trying to figure out what the hiss was, and it was only about maybe 10 or 15 seconds and then, 'kaboom' -- we saw it across the street," said Chris Bean, who works at the nearby Golf Club at McKinney. "My first reaction was, 'Thank God I don't have to fix that.' Then the reality hit ... you could see the flames and there was no black smoke, just this huge ball of fire. I saw one of the crew members run across the street and he was pretty shaken up ... they just started running."

There were conflicting reports about the number and severity of those injured, but Atmos officials now say only two people were treated for injuries, one for anxiety.

Read the original story, see raw video of the fire on NBCDFW.com

"We are very lucky.  They [the crew] were all immediately accounted for. This is in the McKinney city limits but it is in a fairly remote area so there were no homes impacted," said Stacie Durham, McKinney Fire Department.

Several vehicles, including digging equipment, were destroyed by the fire.

Power out
The fire caused a power outage in the area and the nearby Medical Center of McKinney operated on generator power for a short time until power was restored to the hospital.  The hospital is located about a block southwest of the fire.

At 11:15 a.m., power remained out to about 1,000 customers in the area.

At about 9:45 a.m., the supply to the gas line was shut down and the fire slowly went out as the residual gas burned off.

Traffic has reopened in the area, though it is moving slowly.

McKinney is about 30 miles north of Dallas.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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