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updated: 7/2/2011 2:29 PM

Exxon oil spill in Montana river prompts evacuations

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Associated Press

LAUREL, Mont. -- An ExxonMobil pipeline that runs under the Yellowstone River near Billings in south-central Montana ruptured and dumped an unknown amount of oil into the waterway, prompting temporary evacuations along the river Saturday morning.

Company spokeswoman Pam Malek, who was at the scene, said the pipe leaked for about a half-hour, though it's not clear how much oil leaked.

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The cause of the rupture wasn't known.

Brent Peters, the fire chief for the city of Laurel about 12 miles east of Billings, said the break in the 12-inch diameter pipe occurred late Friday about a mile south of Laurel.

He said about 140 people were evacuated in the area starting about 12:15 a.m Saturday due to concerns about possible explosions and the overpowering fumes.

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