WARSAW, Poland (AP) - A gas pipeline exploded in a village in Poland on Thursday, setting fire to homes, killing three people and injuring at least 13, police said. Andrzej Borowiak, a spokesman for Poznan police, said the blast occurred in the early afternoon in the western village of Jankow Przygodzki. Joanna Pawlaczyk, spokeswoman for a hospital in nearby Ostrow Wielkopolski, said one adult and one child were in serious condition.
Firefighters' spokesman Pawel Fratczak said two people were missing. He said an existing pipeline was probably damaged while a new pipeline was being installed next to it. Some 12 houses were on fire, he said. Malgorzata Polkowska, a spokeswoman for the Gaz-System S.A. pipeline operator, said it was the first such accident since the company was founded in 2004, and called it a "very large scale tragedy."
The pipeline in Jankow Przygodzki is part of a local pipeline installed in 1977. A new pipeline is being installed next to it in a modernization plan. There was no gas in the pipeline being laid in the ground, Polkowska said. A special commission is to determine the cause of the explosion. Local residents told sourvces that people were running out of their houses crying after the blast. Footage showed yellow flames and black smoke billowing above rooftops, and some houses on fire. They were still burning hours after the blast.