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Shubuta, MS Oil Field Pipeline Explosion, May 1974

MOTORIST KILLED, 5 BURNED IN MISSISSIPPI GAS BLAST.

Shubuta, Miss. (AP) -- One person was killed and five critically burned in a fiery explosion Tuesday night as they drove through a "gas fog" near a leaking oil field pipeline, authorities said.
Clarke County Sheriff Harold Hutcherson said the cars apparently entered an area four miles northwest of Shubuta where the "fog or gas" had settled.
The sheriff said apparently a spark from one of the cars ignited it and "blew the whole area up. These people didn't have a chance to get out because everything around them was on fire."
RITA STANLEY, about 18, of the Vossburg area of Jasper County was killed. Three persons in her vehicle and the drivers of the two other cars were injured.
Hutchenson said the fumes covered an area along the road for about 200 yards and that the cars were well into the gas before the explosion.
"It must have gone up like dynamite," he said. "There was as much fire behind them as there was out front. They got out of their cars and tried to crawl out but the girl didn't make it."
Hutchenson said the others managed to crawl into nearby woods "and got back far enough so that they could escape."
A spokesman for the University Medical Center in Jackson said four persons were admitted in "extremely critical" condition. They were identified as TAMMY STALLINGS, 15, VIRGINIA PURNELL, 25, L. C. DICKSON, 24, and JIMMY SAMPSON, 27, all from the Shubuta area.
Listed in serious condition at Veterans Administration Hospital in Jackson was ALBERT STALLINGS, about 23, of the Vossburg area.
Hutcherson said MISS STANLEY and STALLINGS were engaged to be married. He said their party was returning from Wayne County, where they had talked to a friend about serving in their wedding.
Hutchenson said the explosion and fire destroyed "30 or 40 acres" of forest, and that areas along the pipeline were still burning.
"The ground is soaked with this stuff and it's still blazing about three or four feet high," he said. "Last night it was flaming to about 100 feet at times. We have the line shut off but there is still enough pressure to keep the fire going."

Anniston Star Alabama 1974-05-22

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