Explosions at Blue Rhino propane plant in Florida
At least seven people were injured by a series of explosions at Blue Rhino propane plant in Florida, officials say.
The blasts at the Blue Rhino propane plant, in the town of Tavares, began at about 23:00, blowing the roof off.
The explosions continued for about an hour and caused a large fire. The cause of the initial blast is not yet known.
Fifteen workers were found safe after initially being unaccounted for, while two others managed to escape unhurt.
A spokesman for the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, John Harrell, said the missing workers had merely “scattered” when the explosions began and had since been contacted by their managers and emergency crews.
People living within 0.5 miles of the plant have been evacuated, although John Harrell said emergency crews believed the fire had been contained and that there was no immediate danger to them.
Officials are investigating the blasts. There were an estimated 53,000 tanks at the plant at the time.
Former plant supervisor Don Ingram told WESH-TV that Blue Rhino took in propane tanks used for home barbecues, cleaned them, checked their valves and then refilled them.
About 4,000 to 5,000 tanks were refilled each night and were stacked on plastic pallets four or five high behind the filling station, Don Ingram added.