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La. Pipeline Blows Out, 7 Missing

October 24, 1998

BRYCELAND, La. (AP) _ A natural gas well exploded and caught fire Saturday afternoon, and seven of the 10 workers on a crew were missing. The three others were taken to a hospital with serious burns.

``The fire is too intense to get close. They tried, but couldn’t get in,″ said Lt. Mike Edmonson, a state police spokesman.

One man was in ``extremely critical condition,″ and the other two were severely burned, Edmonson said.

The crew apparently was drilling for natural gas in the Bienville Parish community about 45 miles east of Shreveport when the well blew about 2 p.m., he said.

Sgt. Ed Bobbitt, a state police hazardous materials supervisor, said the smoke could be seen 20 miles away.

Firefighters were pouring water onto drums of methanol, which is used for drilling, to try to keep those from exploding. Well control teams from Texas were coming to the site, which is owned by Sonat Exploration.

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