An excavator ruptured a natural gas pipeline in northern Erath County Tuesday shutting down a rock quarry while fumes dissipated in the air north of FM 1188 between Huckabay and Morgan Mill.

A worker driving a large tractor nicked the 3-inch steel gathering pipeline which moved natural gas from the well site to a compressor station.

The pipe was under low pressure at the time with only drip condensate, a waste by-product from natural gas, present.

"This could have easily been a pretty dangerous situation, but everything turned out safely," said Erath County Volunteer Fire Rescue Coordinator Chris Gable.

Firefighters were dispatched to the quarry to establish a safety perimeter and stand ready in the event of an explosion.

The Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the state's oil and gas industry, also responded to the scene.

The privately-owned quarry is leased to the local contractor digging at the site. The pipeline operator shut off valves at the well pump and compressor station to allow gas to bleed from the line so repairs could be made. Operations at the quarry can resume after 12 p.m. Wednesday and natural gas pumping can resume once the pipeline is repaired and pressure checked.