Gas Plant Explodes in Florida, Injures 7 and Forces Evacuations
A large series of gas explosions at a propane plant in Lake County, Florida late Monday caused multiple injuries and forced residents to evacuate the area.
The blasts — which sent vibrations several towns over — sent 7 people to the hospital, but caused no fatalities. Although several of the Blue Rhino plant workers were still missing Monday night, an official from the Lake County Sheriff's Office said early Tuesday that all have now been accounted for.
The initial explosions, which started at around 11 PM local time Monday, occurred inside the plant, blowing off the roof and destroying two large LP storage tanks. They lasted for more than half an hour. About an hour later, the blasts started again, this time inside tractor-trailers filled with gas tanks.
Fires continued to burn up the plant for another two hours or so, blazing through another dozen or so propane-holding trailers.
Until Monday, the facility had over 50,000 propane tanks on site.
According to the sheriff's office, it's still unclear how or why the blasts began. A spokesperson for the office said there is "no indication whatsoever" what sparked the explosions, although some are speculating that that someone may have been filling their own tank when a leak ignited.
An evacuation zone of one mile surrounding the Blue Rhino plant was put into effect on Monday night.