Lithuania gas explosion blamed on technical malfunction

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A powerful gas pipeline explosion that prompted the evacuation of a village in northern Lithuania was most likely caused by a technical malfunction, the head of the country’s natural gas transmission system said Saturday.

The blast Friday evening sent flames 50 meters (about 150 feet) into the sky. No casualties were reported but about 250 people were evacuated from the nearby village of Valakeliai as a precaution. The fire was extinguished by midnight and the residents returned to their homes on Saturday as repair work began on the damaged pipeline.

The pipeline carries gas from Lithuania’s Baltic port of Klaipeda to neighboring Latvia. An adjacent pipeline was not damaged and continued to supply gas to consumers in the area, AB Amber Grid said.

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Photo: File photo by AB Amber Grid

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