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      Official: Unclear if any deaths in Texas explosion

      CLEBURNE, Texas (AP) - Officials now say they don't know if anyone was killed when a natural gas line exploded in a rural area south of Dallas.

      Cleburne City Manager Chester Nolen initially told The Associated Press that at least three people were dead. But after fire officials and the gas line operator extinguished the fire, he said they were unsure if anyone was killed.

      The fire spewed towering flames into the air for about two hours, preventing rescuers from determining how many people may have been killed or injured.

      Nolen says workers apparently hit the underground line about 50 miles south of Dallas while digging on Monday. He says the heat was "unbearable," even 300 yards from the flames. A column of gray smoke was visible miles away.

      (Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

      Previously Reported:

      CLEBURNE, Texas (AP) - Three people were killed and several others injured after a natural gas line in north Texas erupted Monday, spewing a massive flames into the air, officials said.

      Cleburne City Manager Chester Nolen told The Associated Press that at least three people died "and there could be more." An unknown number of people remain unaccounted for, he said.

      The heat was "unbearable," even 300 yards from the flames, Nolen said. A column of gray smoke was visible miles away.

      Nolen said workers apparently hit the gas line near Cleburne, located about 50 miles south of Dallas, while working on a communications line.

      About six people were transported by air or ground ambulance to hospitals, Johnson County Emergency Management Coordinator Jack Snow, said.

      Laura Harlin, a resident of nearby Granbury, said he heard a "huge rumbling" that initially sounded like thunder and then like a tornado because it lasted so long.

      "For about 10 minutes, it was so loud that it was like there was an 18-wheeler rumbling in your driveway," she said.

      ---

      Associated Press Writers Jeff Carlton and Schuyler Dixon in Dallas contributed to this report.

      (Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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