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Montreal Gazette
29 December, 2000

One hurt in blast at gas-pipe station
Canadian Press

EAST HEREFORD - An explosion ripped through a natural gas pipe line station in the Eastern Townships just north of the Vermont-Quebec border early yesterday evening.

One man, a 46-year-old gas company employee from Magog, was severely burned.

The explosion happened at the Gaz TQM pumping station, shaking windows as far away as Colebrook, N.H about 25 kiometres south. An electrical building next to the compression station had to be torn down and the compression station self was heavily damaged.

Suzanne Inkel, wife of East Hereford's mayor, Richard Belleville, said the explosion was very powerful.

"We felt the house shake," she said. "There was a big boom and my son saw the fireball. Then it went dark." Several houses lost power after the explosion.

Fearing a gas leak, authorities also closed the nearby portion of the provincial Highway 253. The highway was reopened at 8:15p.m.

East Hereford is a small community of 316 people nestled among the Apalachian mountains.

The cause of the explosion is unknown.

Robert Heider, vice-president of TQM Pipeline, said the station compressed natural gas bound for the United States, in this case Portland, Me. The gas has to be compressed before it can be transported.

"No Quebec or Canadian customers will be affected," said Heider, adding the pipeline itself was not damaged.

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