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Propane Tank Plant Explosion Rocks Town During The Night

Photo of Benny Agosto

As many as 26 workers were on duty when a Blue Rhino propane tank plant erupted into a series of explosions last night. Seven were taken to local hospitals for evaluation and treatment following the Central Florida gas blast; one person was in critical condition. All workers have been accounted for following the explosions.

The propane-fueled explosion occurred at location mainly used for refilling propane tanks used for gas grilling or similar activities.

First responders had initially determined that homes within a one-mile radius of the plant should be evacuated as a safety precaution, but that was later dropped down to a half-mile radius. No injuries have been reported from residents near the propane tank plant. The sound of the propane tanks exploding was likened to bombs going off in the Central Florida city, with intermittent booms reported to have occurred over a 30-minute window.

Large propane storage tanks did not ignite in the explosion or subsequent fire; the mayor of Tavares speculated that the fire's failure to reach the 90,000 gallon tanks saved the town from being leveled by the plant blast.

Firefighters were monitoring a small blaze in a plastic cap storage container at the facility on Tuesday morning. Other than that, officials reported that the fires caused by the propane tank explosions had been contained and extinguished. Pictures of the aftermath of the plant blast revealed propane tanks strewn about the grounds of the Central Florida business.

Source: San Jose Mercury News, "Florida gas explosion: 7 injured when Blue Rhino plant blows up," July 29, 2013

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