Natural Gas Main Ruptures In Mississippi, Leveling Clinic; 9 Hurt, Officials Say

Saturday, September 15th 2007, 10:34 pm
By: News On 6

PHILADELPHIA, Miss. (AP) _ A massive natural gas explosion leveled a clinic Saturday, injuring nine people and shattering windows at a nearby hospital, authorities and witnesses said.

The clinic, which contained four doctors' offices, was gutted by the explosion and subsequent fire.

``Gas leaked into the sewer line and that's how it got in the building,'' Mayor Rayburn Waddell said.

Witnesses reported feeling the blast in Union, nearly 15 miles south.

Businesses more than 800 feet away reported windows being blown out and roof damage. Authorities said 35 windows were shattered at the county hospital and nursing home. No one in those buildings was injured.

A beauty shop in the same complex as the clinic suffered major damage, said Jeff Mayo, Neshoba County Emergency Management Director. A dozen people were inside during the explosion, which caused the ceiling to collapse, said Alice Pinkston, a hairstylist at Deva Reflections Hair Salon. She and the others escaped through a back door.

Nine people were treated at Neshoba County Hospital, Police Chief Dickie Sistrunk said.

Sistrunk said the cause of the blast was being investigated. There had apparently been construction nearby.