UNDERGROUND gas pipeline explosion burns 20,000 gallons, sparked by running pickup truck

Wednesday, July 25th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) _ A leaking gasoline supply line exploded after the fuel was ignited by a spark from a running pickup truck, sending billows of black smoke and flames into the sky, officials said.

There were no reports of injuries or building damage.

The fire was put out by 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, said Rick Harrison, operations manager for Lancaster County Communications. A fire crew and a hazardous materials crew remained at the scene to clean up the area.

About 20,000 gallons of gasoline burned in the Tuesday evening explosion. The gasoline was leaking from an 8-inch Exxon-Mobil pipeline in a field with no buildings nearby.

Several workers in the area were able to get away quickly and weren't injured, Elliott said.

Several roads were closed, and power in the area was turned off. Eighteen homes remained without power Wednesday, PPL Corp. spokesman Lawrence Downing said.

``This would have been an even more disastrous situation had it been a densely populated area,'' said James J. Wolfe, a spokesman for the Lancaster County Firemen Association. The underground pipeline stretches some 80 miles from Malvern to Harrisburg.