After a series of explosions at the Blue Rhino propane gas plant in Lake County, Florida, 15 out of the 24 to 26 employees working at the plant at the time had been initially unaccounted for, but they have now been found safe. Two other workers escaped unhurt. However, at least seven people were injured and have been flown to nearby hospitals.
The first series of explosions at the plant began at 11:00 p.m. last night, lasting for about thirty minutes. They blew the roof off the building. Then more explosions started at 12:30 this morning. A large fire resulted. People living within a half-mile of the plant have been evacuated. A spokesman for the Lake County Sheriff’s office said there was no immediate danger to Tavares resident, and that emergency crews believed the fire had been contained .
The cause of the initial explosion is not yet clear, but former plant supervisor Don Ingram told WESH-TV that Blue Rhino took in propane tanks formerly used for home barbecues. The tanks were cleaned, their valves checked, and were then refilled. 4,000 to 5,000 tanks were refilled with propane every night and stacked four to five high on plastic pallets behind the filling station, Mr. Ingram said.
By: Tom Ukinski