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Major Natural Gas Pipeline Explodes In Louisiana

ENON, La. — An explosion on a major natural gas pipeline in Washington Parish, Louisiana, destroyed a mobile home on Tuesday and led to an evacuation of the area, local officials said.

The blast on the Florida Gas Transmission pipeline, a key artery transporting gas from Texas to south Florida, sent a mushroom cloud into the sky and sparked a fire on the line, according to Lauren Ritchie, a spokeswoman for the Washington Parish sheriff's department.

No injuries were reported, and the fire was contained, she said.

State and federal officials were on the scene, taking air quality readings and investigating the incident, which occurred in a rural area near the town of Enon, 80 miles north of New Orleans. Ritchie said 55 residents were evacuated.

A section of the pipeline was shut, and natural gas was rerouted to customers along other parts of the Florida Gas system, according to a spokeswoman for Energy Transfer Partners , which is part-owner of Florida Gas Transmission. She did not give a timetable for when the pipe would restart or have any details on the cause of the explosion.

The pipeline has the capacity to carry up to 3.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.

The explosion caused about 10,000 customers of the Washington-Street Tammany Electric Cooperative in Louisiana to lose power, but a co-op representative said power had been restored to most of them.

The near 5,500-mile Florida Gas Transmission system is owned by Florida Gas Transmission Co LLC, an Energy Transfer Partners-Kinder Morgan Inc affiliate.