Friday, May 27, 2016
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Injured Men from Explosion Now Identified

(Le Mars) -- We now know the identities of the two men injured in yesterday's gas pipeline explosion. Christopher De Rocher age 33 of Le Mars, and 28 year old Jacob Brown of Sioux City were transported to Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City following that gas pipeline explosion. Hospital officials say both men are listed in fair condition. The men were injured yesterday afternoon when a massive and powerful explosion occurred as the result of an earth moving construction equipement that they were operating accidently hit an underground natural gas pipeline. The men were digging a trench on ground owned by Randy Riediger when the explosion happened at about 1:50 p.m. at 31615 Marble Avenue, about 14 miles south of Le Mars, and six miles east of Hinton. Flames shot up at least 60 feet in the air and stretched for hundreds of yards, and could be seen for miles. Witnesses say the heat from the wall of fire could be felt a half mile away. Fire and rescue crews from seven different communities responded to the scene, but because of the intensity of the fire they were kept at bay. In addition to fire and rescue crews, ambulance units from several communities also responded as did work crews from Northern Iowa Power Cooperative (NIPCO), Mid-American Energy, and Northern Natural Gas. The fire was extinguished shortly after 3:00 p.m. when gas company officials were able to shut off the gas. Van Otterloo says it was fortunate that the explosion was in the middle of a farm field and was not near any homes, or farm buildings.

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