UPDATE: Western Pennsylvania Natgas Pipeline Explodes, Injuring One

April 29 (Reuters) - A natural gas pipeline outside Pittsburgh exploded on Friday, setting off a fire that destroyed a home, injuring one person inside it and forcing the evacuation of nearby residents, state and local officials said.

The explosion of the 36-inch pipeline occurred in rural Westmoreland County. The victim, who officials did not identify, suffered burns in a fire caused by the blast and was taken to University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Mercy in Pittsburgh.

Houston, Texas-based Spectra Energy, owner of the pipeline, said it responded to the fire.

Crews from Texas Eastern Transmission LP, a division of Spectra Energy, shut off gas an hour after the fiery explosion, said John Poister, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

"The situation is under control and contained," Poister said.

Emergency crews responded to the blast in Salem Township at about 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT). About a dozen people in homes and other buildings within a quarter mile of the explosion were evacuated, Poister said.

The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) said it is investigating the cause. Poister said the state would conduct an environmental impact assessment.

Texas Eastern is a 9,096-mile pipeline that connects the Gulf Coast with high demand markets in the northeastern United States.

(Additional reporting by Nithin Prasad and Swati Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Bill Trott and Diane Craft)


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