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Gas pipeline explodes outside Houston

Gas pipeline explodes outside Houston
An image of the scene showed a massive tower of flames and smoke spiralling over a field

A natural gas pipeline has exploded in a rural area about 40 miles outsides Houston, according to Fort Bend County officials.

An image of the scene, captured on Thursday, showed a massive tower of flames and smoke spiralling over a field.

Fort Bend Precinct One Constable Chad Norvell tweeted that no injuries or structural damages were reported, and that it would take some time to close the line and burn off.

The constable’s office later reported that the fire, which happened west of the small city of Orchard, was now out.

Fort Bend fire officials had sent a hazmat team to the scene and asked that people to avoid the area.

No further information was immediately available.

Texas is the number one US state for crude oil and gas production, with fields dotted across much of its landscape. Last year, the Lone Star state accounted for 43 per cent of the nation’s crude production and a quarter of marketed natural gas production, according to government data.

Texas is criss-crossed with 17,000 miles of pipelines which move natural gas from the state across the US and into Mexico.