Cause Of Florida Gas Plant Blast Being Investigated

CBS News: Florida resident Wayde Coulter posted this photo of an explosion in Lake County on Instagram. / Instagram/Wayde Coulter
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Associated Press Release .


TAVARES, Fla. (AP) -- Equipment malfunction and human error are among the possible causes of a series of explosions that spawned a 20-by-20 foot fireball at a central Florida propane plant and left eight injured.

Tavares Fire Chief Richard Keith identified the possible causes Tuesday, but said sabotage was not suspected.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration launched an investigation into the Monday night incident at the Blue Rhino propane plant in a town northwest of Orlando, as did the Florida State Fire Marshal's office.

No one died, but eight workers were injured, four critically. Those injured include a worker who was hit by a car on a nearby road while fleeing the explosions.

Associated Press Release

TAVARES, Fla. (AP) -- All workers at a Florida gas plant rocked by a series of explosions have been accounted for after as many as 15 were initially feared killed, authorities say.

John Herrell of the Lake County Sheriff's Office said early Tuesday that all the workers at the Blue Rhino propane plant had been accounted for and that no fatalities had been reported after explosions hit the plant late Monday night. Seven people were injured and transported to local hospitals.

Herrell earlier had said 15 workers were unaccounted for after the blasts, but all were later found safe.

Associated Press Release

TAVARES CITY, Fla. (AP) -- A series of major explosions at a Florida gas plant has injured several workers and left others missing.

The Orlando Sentinel reports Monday night Tavares City Administrator John Drury says 10 of 24 people working at Blue Rhino, a propane-tank business there, have not been accounted for after the blasts.

Arial footage of the scene early Tuesday morning showed fires still burning over a large area shooting large flames and plumes of smoke into the night sky. Emergency crews could also be seen massing nearby.

Lake County Sheriff Gary Borders says the blasts occurred inside the plant and blew the roof off.

The newspaper reports that the blasts began about 11 p.m. and continued for about an hour.

CBS News Web Copy

Emergency officials in Lake County, Fla., confirmed there were multiple injuries after a series of reported propane explosions rocked a gas plant.

Images showed a massive blast at a Blue Rhino plant in Tavares, about an hour north of Orlando. The explosions began at around 11:25 p.m. ET.

The Orlando Sentinel reports Tavares City Administrator John Drury says 10 of 24 people working at the propane-take business there have not been accounted for after the blasts.

Lake County Sheriff Gary Borders said the blasts occurred inside the plant and blew the roof off.

One worker told CBS affiliate WKMG the explosion knocked him over. He said he could only see red and managed to find his way to a nearby gas station with other coworkers.

The loud blasts brought Tavares residents out of their homes. "Shook my house and I live at least 4 miles away," tweeted Marc Strand, who took a picture of the flames and smoke. As of 12:45 p.m., he said blasts were still going off.

According to their website, Blue Rhino is a propane tank exchange brand, as well as a leading designer and marketer of barbecue grills, outdoor heaters, mosquito traps, and other outdoor appliances

This is a developing story.

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