Tanks of Liquefied Natural Gas Exploded Near Dallas

DALLAS, TX (AP) - A series of explosions at a facility that sells liquefied natural gas sent flaming debris raining onto highways and buildings near downtown. At least two people were injured, hospital officials said.

Authorities evacuated a half-mile area surrounding the Southwest Industrial Gases, Inc. facility, and shut down parts of two of the area's busiest highways, Interstates 30 and 35.

"I thought it was artillery. It was just coming just boom, boom, boom," said witness Tony Love, a former Army soldier.

Video footage showed numerous small fires burning in the area as stacks of gas cylinders catching fire and exploding.

At the edge of the evacuation zone is Dallas County's main jail and criminal courts building, but operations continued there uninterrupted, said Deputy Michael Ortiz of the Dallas County Sheriff's Department.

"We are prepared to go into any emergency mode that's needed, but we feel pretty secure here in the jail," Ortiz said.

The Environmental Protection Agency's emergency responders were on the way to the scene, said Dave Bary, a spokesman for the agency's regional office. He said they will assist in monitoring the air, but had no information yet.

Parkland Hospital spokesman Robert Behrens said two people injured by the explosions had been brought to his hospital in serious condition.