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Hundreds evacuated after gas explosion north of Mexico City

Monday, 16 Dec 2013 | 10:56 AM ET

MEXICO CITY, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Hundreds of people were evacuated after an explosion and fire that was caused by thieves trying to tap into a natural gas pipeline of state oil and gas company Pemex on the outskirts of Mexico City, emergency services said on Monday.

According to media reports, seven people were injured. A spokesman for civil protection authorities in the municipality of Tezoyuca, northeast of the capital, was unable to confirm the number.

Between 700 and 800 people were evacuated in a 1 km (0.6 mile) radius around the blaze, which was reported early on Monday morning, according to the spokesman. Most of those affected by the accident were being allowed to return home, he added.

The valves to the gas pipe were closed, he added.

Pemex said on its Twitter account that the blaze, caused by thieves trying to tap the pipeline, was under control.