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St. Louis (KSDK) - St. Louis firefighters responded to a report of agas leak fireball that shot 40 feet into the air shortly before 3 p.m. Thursday.

It happened in the 5600 block of Enright in north St. Louis.

Residents in the area reported smelling gas earlier this week, so crews were in the area looking for the source of the leak. When they began digging, a piece of the pipe collapsed, causing a spark which ignited the fire.

No injuries were reported, but a backhoe was damaged by the heat of the fire.

Crewsopted to burn the gas off, rather than shut off gas to the entire area. The fire was extinguished by 6:45 p.m.

St. Luke's Plaza Apartments were evacuated after the explosion, and the neighborhood will continue to be evacuated until the gas has finished burning off and the gas line is clamped off on both ends.

PHOTOS - Fireball shoots in air after gas leak