Chicago - A Texas town was evacuated on Thursday after a gas pipeline operated by Chevron exploded, but there were no injuries.
Huge plumes of smoke and massive flames rose up from the Milford blast site in an otherwise empty field, according to images posted by local media.
"At 09:30 this morning, I had a report of an explosion on a Chevron pipeline," said Jo Ann Livingston, a spokesperson for the Ellis County Sheriff's Office.
"Chevron requested that the town of Milford be evacuated, and it was."
Around 200 school children were among those evacuated, Livingston told AFP. They were taken to a nearby high school.
"I'm not aware of any injuries to people in town," Livingston said.
The town of 700 people is located about 80km south of Dallas.
A crew was performing "excavation activities" when the natural gas line ruptured, Chevron said in a statement.
The five workers were able to escape without injury before the site was engulfed in flames.
"Chevron is continuing to depressurize the West Texas LPG pipeline that ruptured and subsequently ignited today," it said in an update.
"The fire continues to decrease in size as residual product is flared and burned off," Chevron said, adding that it was monitoring an adjacent gas pipeline.
Workers have set a 2.4km evacuation zone at the site, and the local Red Cross has been mobilised to help assist the people affected by the incident.
"Our priority continues to be the safety and wellbeing of the community, our employees and responders," Chevron said.