The incident occurred in the early hours of Feb. 13 in Adair County, reports said. The fire damaged a third home and several vehicles that were parked in the vicinity. Residents of the houses nearby were evacuated as a precaution, emergency officers explained. One of the hospitalized people suffered burns, while the second was admitted for evaluation, Adair County emergency management director Greg Thomas told the Associated Press.
The pipeline is operated by Houston, Texas-based Columbia Gulf Transmission, part of Columbia Pipeline Group, and is located about 20 feet under the surface. The fire was put under control by firefighter crews and was left to burn itself out, Thomas explained.
In an announcement published on the company website, Columbia Gulf stated that the gas flow had been stopped and that its crews were working on the scene with emergency response teams to make sure the area was safe and there was no risk for the people living in the vicinity. The company said that the cause of the explosion was not yet known but an investigation had been launched. The company was fully cooperating with the authorities and pledged to do its best to ensure safe and responsible operations, said Shawn Patterson of Columbia Pipeline Group.