Two people were injured today when their trenching machine hit a gas line in rural Plymouth. Plymouth County Sheriff, Mike Van Otterloo says the explosion and massive fireball happened just before two o’clock about 14 miles south of Le Mars.

He says the two people who were running the machine suffered burns and were taken to a local hospital and it doesn’t appear their injuries are life threatening. Sheriff Van Otterloo says the heat was so intense that crews at first could not get close to the fire.

He says it’s fortunate that the blast happened where it did. “A good thing for us, and emergency crews, is it is in the middle of a section and there were no residences or any other outbuilding structures that were involved,” Van Otterloo says.

Utility crews were able to shut down the gas line and contain the fire in around one hour. Witnesses say the blast created a huge fireball and flames and smoke were visible from two miles away.

By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City