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Tanker carrying gasoline explodes

SIOUX CENTER — Static electricity ignited vapors as a tanker truck loaded gasoline in the heart of town, causing an explosion that severely burned the driver and prompted the evacuation of about 2,000 people, fire officials said yesterday.

The driver, whose name wasn’t released, was loading the gasoline from a rail car Tuesday at the Farmers Co-op Society when the accident occurred. An investigation continues.

The fire melted the truck’s aluminum tank and burned the driver, who was taken to St. Elizabeth Hope Center in Lincoln, Neb.

Fire and hazardous materials crews had extinguished the flames by 9 p.m. No buildings were destroyed, and the evacuation order was lifted shortly before midnight, said Sioux Center Fire Chief David Van Holland.


Convicted soldier testifies in attack

FORT CAMPBELL — A soldier charged in the killings of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and her family stood over his colleagues as they raped the girl and pointed his weapon at the door for security, another soldier testified yesterday.

Pfc. Jesse Spielman, whose court-martial entered its third day yesterday, was within a few feet of the others as they held the girl down kicking and screaming, and he did nothing to stop them, Sgt. Paul E. Cortez testified.

Military prosecutor Maj. William Fischbach asked Cortez if Pfc. Spielman objected to the rape.

Cortez, his lips trembling, replied: “He doesn’t.”

Cortez previously pleaded guilty to the March 2006 attack on Abeer Qassim al-Janabi and her family and was sentenced to 100 years behind bars.

Two other soldiers convicted in the attack also were expected to testify against Pfc. Spielman.


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