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Gas Explosion Injures 10 People

June 14, 2001

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) _ Two natural gas lines exploded Wednesday, injuring at least 10 people, when a parking lot gave way beneath a cement truck at a car dealership, emergency officials said.

The blast sent chunks of concrete flying across a four-lane road, and several employees and customers at neighboring businesses were evacuated.

There were no serious injuries, but 10 people were taken to a hospital, officials said. Their injuries included minor burns and ear damage.

About 25 cars at the Kia dealership and 10 boats at a neighboring business were damaged or destroyed, said Escambia County Sheriff’s Capt. Joel Mooneyham. He estimated total damage at $1 million.

Gulf South Pipeline employees quickly closed a valve to isolate the larger of the damaged lines, said Marc Palazzo, a spokesman for the Houston-based company.

It interrupted service to Pensacola Naval Air Station, and a limited number of other customers, Palazzo said.

The other line belonged to a city-owned utility.

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