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7 injured after pipeline explosion in Alabama

At least seven people were injured Monday after an explosion on a gas pipeline in Helena, Alabama, the Associated Press reported.

The explosion on the Colonial Pipeline happened just one mile west of where a gas leak occurred on the pipeline in early September, according to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley.

The injured workers were taken to Birmingham hospitals, Bentley told WBRC-TV Monday evening. Bentley added that the blast appears to have been an accident.

According to the AP, Colonial Pipeline issued a brief statement saying it has shut down the main pipeline.

"Colonial's top priorities are the health and safety of the work crew on site and protection of the public," the company said.

A large plume of flame and smoke was being shown arising from the area. The Alabama Emergency Management Agency said a temporary flight restriction is in effect for the area around the explosion.

An area 3 miles around the fire has been evacuated, Bentley said in a statement.

Firefighters work to put out a fire after part of the Colonial Pipeline exploded in Helena, Alabama. (Photo/Alabama Emergency Management Agency)

Helena is located about 20 miles to the south of Birmingham.

It is not particularly windy in the area with winds out of the southwest around 5 mph, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Alyson Hoegg. Winds will remain light into the overnight hours but will shift to the southeast, she added.

The pipeline explosion occurs at a time while much of the Southeast continues to face stifling heat and continued periods of dry weather. Birmingham tied or broke a record high six times during October and is likely to end up with no measurable precipitation for the month.

(Photo/Twitter user @Kdudley_)