Illinois natural gas pipeline leaks, causes explosion

A natural gas pipeline exploded in northern Illinois late August 12th, causing a massive fire in a cornfield and forcing the evacuation of 80 nearby homes.

A natural gas pipeline exploded in northern Illinois late Aug. 12, causing a massive fire in a cornfield and forcing the evacuation of 80 nearby homes. The pipeline was carrying gas byproducts ethane and propane and ruptured in Erie, Ill., around 11 p.m., creating a fire with flames about 300 feet high, Think Progress reported.

The homes evacuated were within a one-mile radius of the blast. However, all but two families returned to their homes the next day, according to the source.

Erie Assistant Fire Chief Scott Melton told the source that operators of the pipeline closed a valve remotely, reducing the flow of natural gas. The gas that was leaked was burned off.

"It's not much of a fire now, but there's still some fuel left in the pipe and they're going to let that burn off, because it's the safest way to handle it," Melton said.

The pipeline is owned by Houston -based energy company Enterprise Products Partners.

No injuries were reported, according to NBC News.

PennEnergy's research area can provide information on pipeline transportation.

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