Gas line explodes near Batesville, Mississippi - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Gas line explodes near Batesville, Mississippi

My 5 photo submitted by Lynn Brinkley My 5 photo submitted by Lynn Brinkley

(WMC-TV) - Panola County authorities are investigating what caused a natural gas pipeline explosion and fire near Batesville that forced the evacuation of 20 to 30 families.

There were no injuries or fatalities related to Monday's incident. Authorities allowed the fire from the ruptured Tennessee Gas Pipeline line to burn out overnight. The pipeline is located off Mississippi Highway 6 west of the Tallahatchie River and west of Batesville.

Emergency Management Director Daniel Cole said fire departments from across the county were mobilized but were released Monday night as the fire died.

"It is my understanding the line itself did not rupture," Cole said. "It was a leak."

Cole said families were moved to a community center about two miles away from the fire.

"Twenty minutes into that evacuation the gas found an ignition source and did ignite, and at that point in the time we deployed three fire departments to standby to protect structures that might have been in danger," he said.

Tennessee Gas personnel shut off the supply of gas feeding through the pipeline, allowing the excess gas to burn off.

Tuesday, local officials re-opened State Highway 6, and Macedonia Road, which had to be closed.

Check back for updates.

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Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. The AP contributed to this story

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