Kinder Morgan gas pipeline explodes in Texas, no injuries

(Reuters) - A Kinder Morgan Inc natural gas pipeline exploded early on Wednesday in southern Texas, the company said, and a television reported homes up to 60 miles (96 km) away were shaken by the blast.

The fuel terminal operator said no injuries were reported and it had put out the fire on its Tejas pipeline in a rural area of Refugio, Texas, about 45 miles (72 km) north of Corpus Christi. The fire was discovered at about 12:30 a.m. CST (0630 GMT) and led to a shutdown of part of the pipeline.

Kinder Morgan said in a statement the impact on customers was being assessed. The cause of the leak is under investigation.

The company sent personnel to the scene and regulators were notified, it said.

Houston’s KHOU television station said that in addition to shaking homes within 60 miles, the glow from the flames after the blast could be seen from 175 miles (281 km) away.

Residents “say that they thought it was an earthquake, others described it as a thunder roll that wouldn’t end,” a reporter for the CBS affiliate said from the scene.

A spokeswoman for the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the energy industry in the state, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Reporting by Nithin Prasad and Swati Verma in Bengaluru, India, and Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Bill Trott