McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

July 30, 2013

Explosions at Florida gas plant 'probably human or equipment error'

Attached stories: Recently families sue propane company after Eufaula explosion


McALESTER — Roads near a gas plant in Lake County, Fla., were littered with twisted pieces of propane canisters early Tuesday, hours after explosions that injured at least eight people and forced the evacuation of residents up to a mile away.

Just before 7 a.m., Tavares Fire Chief Richard Keith told reporters on the scene that “we don’t think there was any act of sabotage or anything like that.

“It was probably a human or equipment error,” he said.

Keith initially said the fire at the Blue Rhino plant was out, but as reporters accessed the facility this morning, firefighters discovered burning plastic tank caps in a gigantic container.

Firefighters used foam to fight those flames.

All of the injured were employees, he said.

He said the plant takes old propane cylinders, cleans them, refurbishes them, fills them and sells them. They pack them up on palettes for shipping.

Officials overnight said that as of Monday, there were about 53,000 20-gallon propane tanks on site.