Natural gas pipeline explodes in northern IL, 2 die

Two men died and two were injured in an explosion and fire caused by the rupture of a natural gas pipeline Tuesday morning northeast of the intersection of state Route 38 and Nachusa Road east of Dixon. The men were laying field tile when a tractor hit

Authorities in northern IL say two men working on a farm field were killed and two others seriously injured in a natural gas pipeline explosion.

The names of the four are being withheld until all immediate family members are notified, Lee County Sheriff John Simonton said at a news conference this afternoon.

A large fire, possibly caused by a pipeline explosion, has emergency personnel responding to a scene near Dixon.

Two men were pronounced dead at the scene, while two more were taken by medical helicopter to a Rockford hospital, where one is in critical condition while the other is listed in stable.

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Fire crews told WIFR that farm workers were installing a tile to help with ground moisture, and a tractor got stuck. Police say neighbors aided the two victims and took them to a local hospital from where they then flown to Rockford.

Autopsies are planned Wednesday for two farmers killed when they ruptured a natural gas pipeline while laying field tile about 9 a.m. Tuesday northeast of Dixon. A second pipeline was not hit by the tractors.

Dental records will be needed to make positive identifications, Lee County Coroner Jesse Partington said.

The Illinois State Fire Marshal's Office sent investigators to the scene.

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