GLEN ROSE — The tower of flame that rose into the sky from the Johnson County pipeline explosion Monday afternoon triggered area hospitals into action.
The first reports said at least three people had died in the blast.
Glen Rose Medical Center went into emergency mode, calling in extra doctors and supplies. Six injured workers went to that facility about 17 miles away.
"It was unbelievable when we first saw the flames and what occurred on site," said the hospital's CEO, Gary Marks.
He braced his doctors and nurses for waves of ambulances, but in the end, the six patients they received were carried to the hospital in private vehicles — witnesses to the inferno who were apparently unable to bear the wait for ambulances to arrive.
One victim, who did not give his name, told News 8 in whispered words that the flames enveloped him before he could figure out what happened.
"It just blew up ... It was all a blur," he said.
That man, along with another injured co-worker, rushed from the hospital in bandages to find his father and tell him he was OK.
The men work for C&H Power Line Construction Services of Dewey, Oklahoma, installing overhead power lines..
By nightfall, all but one of the patients at the Glen Rose hospital had been released. The injuries to the remaining worker are not thought to be critical.
Some of the C&H workers returned Monday night to the local motel where they had been staying. The company's CEO is meeting with them, trying to determine just what happened.