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By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - A construction crew on Friday accidentally ruptured a natural gas transmission line in Fresno, California, sparking an explosion and fire that injured up to 15 people, four of them critically, officials said. The 12-inch (30-cm) pipeline, belonging to Pacific Gas & Electric Corp , was struck by a backhoe near state Highway 99, unleashing a fireball that injured members of the construction team and a jail inmate crew nearby, Fresno Fire Department spokesman Peter Martinez said. One worker in critical condition was flown to hospital by helicopter, and 13 or 14 others were taken to hospitals for evaluation and treatment of injuries after the pipeline was ruptured at about 2:30 p.m., Martinez added. Four of the injured were taken to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, and two more were taken to the burn unit there, said hospital spokeswoman Mary Lisa Russell, adding that four were in critical condition and two serious.
The Catholic Church in the US forked out $120 million to victims of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy and $30 million on pedophile prevention programs over 12 months, according to an annual report. The bulk of the $150 million between June of 2013 and 2014 was spent on compensation, therapy and legal fees for victims, the report said, and the rest went to preventing the abuse from occurring, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops said. The US bishops conduct an annual study of sexual abuse allegations following a church scandal over pedophile priests came under the spotlight in 2002. In the fallout senior church officials acknowledged they had protected priests responsible for the sexual abuse of children.