Chevron pipeline explosion causes evacuation of Milford, Texas near Dallas

(CNN) -- A Texas community near Dallas has temporarily become a ghost town, after a nearby pipeline fire, which has been burning for nearly two days, caused it to be evacuated.

Police required all residents of Milford, which has an estimated population of 700, to leave, after the underground pipeline exploded early Thursday, sending up orange flames stories high, said spokesman Malcolm Ward.

The Chevron oil company asked that the safety measure be taken, the company said in a statement Friday. A jet black plume of smoke has been billowing up towards the clouds. The statement mentioned not wanting to risk exposing residents to possible effects on air quality in Milford.

Workers are trying to stop the fire by emptying the flaming stretch of pipeline 50 miles south of Dallas of the oil left inside. They are setting flares to burn it off.

The company has provided hotel accommodations for affected residents, the statement said. The American Red Cross has also set up a shelter nearby, according to the Sheriff's office.

Milford's residents are expected to return to their homes sometime Saturday, Ward said.

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