PROPANE EXPLOSION IN NY HURTS SIX

PROPANE EXPLOSION IN NY HURTS SIX

Six people were seriously injured early Tuesday when liquid propane leaking

from a pipeline exploded, authorities said.

Two explosions in the rural Schoharie County town of Blenheim, about 40 miles southwest of Albany, destroyed a dozen homes, blew out windows in several others and knocked out phone and electric service in a 15-mile radius.The explosion occurred shortly before 8 a.m.

A spokesman for the state Public Service Commission said the pipeline is owned by Texas Eastern Transmission Corp., Houston. It is an interstate line feeding into Selkirk, an important propane distribution center for upstate New York and New England 10 miles south of Albany.

The leak in the 8-inch pipeline apparently caused propane to seep into a small valley where the homes were located.

"When it first happened, we thought an airplane had crashed into the side of the hill," said Liz Mace, a resident. "I was just getting ready for work and there was this horrendous explosion.

At least two people were in critical condition with second- and third- degree burns over most of their bodies.

It took volunteer firefighters from a dozen companies almost three hours to extinguish the fires.

The explosion will be investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board, said Ed Collins, a spokesman for the Public Service Commission.