A six-year-old boy was killed and at least 13 people were injured today in an explosion that apparently resulted from a leak of a large amount of liquefied petroleum gas from a pipeline outside this east central Texas town.
Several homes were left in shambles one to two miles from the explosion and rolling pasture was charred. The explosion was of such force and of such a peculiar nature that it rattled buildings 70 miles away in Houston and was heard 140 miles away.
The officials investigating the explosion said the gas appeared to have seeped from a pipeline that feeds an underground salt dome storage cavern. In the still morning air a substantial quantity of the gas is believed to have collected at the bottom of a small valley, where it was ignited at about 7:15. The officials said they did not know how the leak was ignited.
In what was once green countryside with splashes of wildflowers there was ugly destruction and grieving after the explosion. A boy whose name was given as Derrek Meinan was killed when his trailer home was crushed by the explosion, said Laureen Chernow, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety. Injured Taken by Helicopter
Four of the people injured were taken by helicopter to Hermann Hospital in Houston, where they were listed in serious to critical condition. At least nine people were treated for injuries at Trinity Medical Center in Brenham, Ms. Chernow said.
The police also said several people had received minor injuries when their cars were blown off nearby roads.
At least four or five homes were destroyed in the fields surrounding the area where the blast occurred, and about 50 other structures were severely damaged, Ms. Chernow said.
A few hundred yards from the blast one side of a small clapboard house had its windows blown out in the only sign of damage from the explosion. But the other side, the one facing the blast, was caved in as if it had been hit by a giant battering ram. The yard was studded with blackened tree limbs that had been hurled into the air and had then landed with such force that they were left standing in the ground like spears.
Overhead buzzards swirled in grizzly gyres. The nearby woods and meadows were littered with the carcasses of cows, donkeys and other animals that had been killed in the explosion. Glenn Gaines, a veterinarian in Brenham, said he had counted 17 dead animals.