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Natural Gas Blast Kills Man in Kansas

September 30, 2006

MOUND VALLEY, Kan. (AP) _ A construction crew ruptured a natural gas line on Friday, leading to an explosion that killed an employee and forced evacuations, authorities said.

A crew from Double J Pipeline Construction was replacing pipe in a rural area when workers struck the gas line, said Jim Cook, Labette County emergency management director.

The victim was a 70-year-old man from Oklahoma, said Labette County Sheriff William Blunder.

About 50 people within a mile of the blast, including construction workers and residents, were evacuated, officials said. Southern Star Natural Gas Co. shut off gas to the area, and firefighters contained the blaze.

Gas service to about 275 customers was disrupted, said Southern Star spokeswoman Gayle Hobbs.

Double J was working on behalf of Admiral Bay Resources Inc. of Colorado, a gas production company with wells in the Mound Valley area.

Robert Carington, chief financial officer for Admiral Bay, declined to comment.

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