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November 19, 2009 The Associated Press

The DeSoto Parish Sheriff's Office says one worker was killed and a second seriously injured by a natural gas well blowout.

Sheriff's Lt. Toni Joe Morris says deputies evacuated about two dozen houses within two miles of the Chesapeake Energy well, which blew about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Names of the dead and injured worker are not yet available.

Jean Kelly, a spokeswoman with the Department of Environmental Quality, says Boots & Coots International Well Control, Inc. is assessing damage and expects to begin capping the well on Thursday.

Morris says that because of the escaping gas, rescue workers had to wear protective suits.

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