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11 injured in gas pipeline explosion

Oil and gas industry workers in the Houston area know that working around pipelines can be deadly, when there is an explosion. This incident took place in another state, and does not involve a typical work accident, but is an example of the sort of disaster that can happen to natural gas workers around the country.

A gas pipeline recently exploded in California, injuring 11 people. Three of the victims were in critical condition as of mid-April, and another was in serious condition.

It appears that a work crew of inmates from a nearby county jail was using heavy equipment to perform work at the sheriff's office's gun range. Someone struck a natural gas pipe, triggering an explosion. A witness said it sounded like a bomb exploding, then compared the sound of the gas leak to jets. Another witness saw flames shooting as high as 200 feet up, and up to 15 feet in diameter.

Officials closed traffic on a nearby highway for nearly three hours, and a rail line was also halted to stop passing trains from further inflaming the leaking gas.

It is not clear what the victims' current condition is. Burns can be extremely painful, disfiguring and fatal in many cases.

In the energy industry, workers sometimes get caught in sudden pipeline explosions. If they survive, they might be left completely or partly disabled, at least temporarily. They need something to help pay for the lost income, medical care and physical rehabilitation. Workers' compensation can be that lifeline.

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