Here's a news item from the Associated Press: LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) ― A construction worker digging with a backhoe in Lewiston struck a 4-inch natural gas line, sparking an explosion and fire that rocked the downtown area, destroyed the backhoe and damaged a nearby building. No one was seriously injured. The Lewiston Tribune reports flames shot 100-feet into the air after the explosion at 1:35 p.m. Monday. The newspaper and several nearby businesses were evacuated while firefighters battled the blaze. Avista spokesman Mike Tatko says three natural gas lines that serve the area were shut off within 20 minutes of the explosion. The fire was out about 20 minutes later. Laura Von Tersch is administrator for the city's Urban Renewal Agency. She says the quality of mapping used for the renovation project may be partly to blame for the explosion.
In this AP photo by the Lewiston Tribune's Kyle Mills, a firefighter keeps his distance as flames engulf an excavator on Fifth Street in downtown Lewiston, after it struck the gas line.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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