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Investigation ongoing following gas line explosion near Glen Carbon

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MARYVILLE, IL (KTVI) - Federal investigators from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration are looking into what went wrong at a construction site in Maryville, Illinois.

A worker using a grading machine ruptured a 10-inch steel pipe natural gas transmission line on Wednesday. The escaping natural gas exploded into a fireball catching more than a dozen other construction vehicles on fire.

The equipment operator was severely burned. No information was available about his condition.

The pipeline is owned by Ameren Illinois and was clearly marked with yellow flags and permanent steel pole markers. A spokesman for the utility company said it is not yet clear why the accident happened.

The pipes are buried three feet underground, but the rupture occurred in an area that had been cut down as the builder prepared to construct a road to the future subdivision on Route 162.

Ameren Illinois work crews purged the damaged pipe of any remaining natural gas and removed debris before installing a new section of steel pipe.

The developer of the subdivision, known as the Villas at Nottingham, is Keystone Construction and Development. Neither Keystone nor its associated firm, Keller Companies, had any comment to make about the accident or the injured worker.