Nov. 14 (UPI) -- The entire town of Milford, Texas was evacuated Thursday morning after a natural gas pipeline exploded, sending a huge fireball and thick smoke up into the air.
Fire crews set up a 1.5 mile radius around the 10-inch Cheveron pipeline to allow the resulting fire to burn off on its own, which they estimated could take up to 36 hours.
All 700 residents of the town were evacuated until the fire burns out, and the Red Cross has set up a shelter at nearby Italy High School.
An investigation to determine what caused the explosion by federal agencies could take from six to 20 months to complete, and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is so far refusing to comment on the age of the line or the results of its last inspection.
People nearby who suffer from respiratory problems are being told to stay inside.