13 dead in India pipeline blast

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A state-owned gas pipeline in India exploded early today, killing at least 13 people and sparking a massive fire that destroyed homes and forced the evacuation of neighbouring villages.

The pipeline of the state-owned Gas Authority of India Limited exploded at 5.30am local time in Nagaram village, the site of a connecting station for the gas company, said Andhra Pradesh home minister N. Chinna Rajappa.

The explosion sent flames shooting up into the pre-dawn sky. The fire burned for more than three hours before it was brought under control, he said.

“The extent of damage is being assessed,” he said.

Jyoti Kumar, a spokesman for GAIL, confirmed the death toll.

Residents of neighbouring villages were evacuated to safer areas, said East Godavari district collector Neetu Kumari Prasad.

The GAIL pipeline supplies gas to Godavari Fertiliser and Nagarjuna Fertiliser.

Nagaram village is about 350 miles east of Hyderabad.

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