Gas-line blast injures at least 14 in Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. -- At least 14 people were injured after a large gas pipeline exploded into a tower of fire at the Fresno County Sheriff's gun range Friday.

Sheriff's spokesman Tony Botti says a county road worker was on a tractor and struck a PG&E gas line, which caused the explosion shortly before 2:30 p.m. The worker was transported to a local hospital in critical condition.

The Fresno Fire Department says a total of 14 people were injured in the explosion. Community Regional Medical Center officials say three people there are in critical condition, and a fourth is in serious condition. Four people were taken to Saint Agnes Medical Center, and three others are at Madera Community Hospital.

Witnesses say they saw flames shooting up about 200 feet in the air. The explosion halted traffic on both northbound and southbound lanes of Highway 99 north of Fresno.
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