CHICAGO (AFP) - A Texas town was evacuated on Thursday after a gas pipeline operated by Chevron exploded, but there were no injuries.
Images posted by local media showed huge plumes of smoke and massive flames rising up from the blast site in an otherwise empty field.
"At 9:30 this morning I had a report of an explosion on a Chevron pipeline," said Ms Jo Ann Livingston, a spokesman for the Ellis county sheriff's office.
"Chevron requested that the town of Milford be evacuated and it was."
Around 200 school children were among those evacuated, Ms Livingston told Agence France-Presse.
They were taken to a nearby high school.
"I'm not aware of any injuries to people in town," Ms Livingston said.
A crew was performing "excavation activities" when the natural gas line ruptured, Chevron said in a statement.
The five workers were able to escape without injury before the site was engulfed in flames, the energy giant added.
"The flow of product in the pipeline has been shut-off and residual burn continues," Chevron said, adding that it was monitoring an adjacent gas pipeline.
"Chevron and emergency response organisations are actively monitoring the incident and taking every precaution to contain and ultimately extinguish the fire," it said.
Milford has a population of 700 and is about 80km south of Dallas.