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Texas Pipeline Blast Under Investigation

Texas pipeline blast investigated

authorities Monday investigated a suspicious pipeline explosion north of Houston that forced the evacuation of about 250 people.

A piece of heavy equipment was apparently used Sunday to puncture the pipeline, setting off the explosion, The Houston Chronicle reported. There were no injuries.

Montgomery County Fire Marshal Jimmy Williams said investigators consider the mischief a criminal act.

"It's unconscionable this was done near homes. This easily could have resulted in a fatality," he said.

One or more individuals apparently took a contractor's four-wheel excavator machine, began digging with it, and punctured the pipeline near New Caney. There were two explosions.

"My windows shook and there was a whooshing sound like a train, so I thought a tornado might be coming," said Joe Pachuca, who lives 30 miles away.

The pipeline is used to transport propylene, a volatile gas used in the production of resins, plastics and gasoline. The fire was allowed to burn itself out.