TAVARES, Fla- A peaceful evening in central Florida last night turned into a startling moment of wonder for many and the cause of injury for others. Around 10:30 p.m. Eastern Time, a series of explosions set fire to one Florida propane gas plant causing neighbors to think it was a bomb.
“It sounds like bombs are going off,” commented local neighbor Norma Haygood. “I thought we were being bombed,” says Debbie Stivender, another nearby resident. The local fire chief had some forewarning to what he would see when arriving at the scene while sitting comfortably at home before the call: “It shook my house, so I knew it was bad right off the bat,” he comments.
What exactly happened is still not certain at this time, though speculations are a combination between human error and equipment failure. Whatever occurred did not just result in one, but literally dozens of explosions setting off multiple fires in the plant. At least 8 people were reported injured, several in serious condition.
Blue Rhino propane plant, 30 miles northwest of Orlando, is equipped with 53,000 20-pound propane tanks most often used for things such as barbecue grilling and other summer camping needs. There were as many as 3- 90,000 gallon tanks which were NOT involved in the fire according to sources.
At first, the local county sheriff’s department created a mile radius evacuation to ensure safety of the surrounding community. As of this morning, that has been reduced to only a half mile radius. No houses are closer than one quarter of a mile from the plant.
Imagine being assembly line workers in this production factory last night. Some of the dedicated plant workers only received a startling fright, while others are fighting for their lives in nearby Orlando Regional Medical Center, not the way they thought the night would end. Families of injured workers sit on the edge of their seats this morning praying for the safety and recovery of their loved ones. We could be so kind as to open our hearts to them as well.
Around the globe day in and day out we are experiencing all kinds of natural and man-made disasters, none of which we are ever truly ‘ready’ for. As the winds pick up and the earth rumbles, factories ignite and war zones break-out, let us not forget our humanness when speaking of these things. Real people are moving through these experiences, many brave, many scared. As we observe, as on-lookers from our computer screens, let us send a silent prayer out for peace and gentle healing to all.
Yes, the Florida Blue Rhino propane plant exploded last night into many fires, thought by neighbors to be bombs of attack. Are we poised for ‘expecting the worst’ in this world today? What happened to the innocence of ‘what was that?!’
Written by: Stasia Bliss