Propane plant explosion leaves 8 injured

The cause of an overnight fire that rocked a central Florida community remains unknown

By Lindsay Abrams
Published July 30, 2013 1:00PM (EDT)

At least eight workers were injured, four critically, when a series of propane tank cylinders exploded at the Blue Rhino plant in Tavares, Florida late last night.

A fire official told CNN that the explosions were likely due to a combination of equipment failure and human error. None of the estimated 26 workers who were in the plant at the time were killed.

The massive explosions were reportedly felt up to ten miles away throughout the surrounding central Florida community, where residents described the impact as feeling like “bombs going off” or Fourth of July fireworks. Tavares resident Marc Strand tweeted pictures of the fire from across Lake Dora and claimed that the initial explosion shook his house from several miles away.

The disaster comes at the peak of summer barbeque season for Blue Rhino. The company refills consumer propane tanks used in gas grills and also designs and sells other backyard equipment such as outdoor heaters, fire pits and mosquito exterminators. According to the Department of Energy, most of the United States’ propane is produced and distributed within the country.

The fire began around 11 p.m. and was contained by 2 a.m. As of this morning, it is completely out. Officials told CNN that the next step will be investigating its exact cause.

Lindsay Abrams

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Emergency Explosion Fire Gas Plant Propane