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Massive Propane Plant Explosion in Florida

At least eight injured in latest example of fossil fuel industrial disasters

Jon Queally, staff writer

A propane plant in Florida owned by gas company Blue Rhino was a fireball overnight as a series of massive explosions sent flames soaring into the air and at least eight people to local hospitals.

"I thought we were being bombed."

As local ABC affiliate reports:

The tanks at the Blue Rhino gas plant, which is about 40 miles northwest of Orlando, began exploding around 11 p.m. Monday. Authorities initially reported that 15 people were unaccounted for, but later said that they were found, according to Lake County Sheriff's Office Lt. John Herrell, who addressed reporters in an early-morning news conference.

There have been no reports of fatalities. The Blue Rhino plant refills propane tanks typically used for barbecues and other activities.

"People from very far away and in towns six, seven, eight, 10 miles from here were reporting feeling their homes shaking," Herrell said.

Blue Rhino is a subsidiary of the larger gas company Ferrellgas, which is based in Kansas.

According to officials the facility contained approximately 53,000 of the 20-pound propane cylinders that most people associate with outdoor grills and other small gas-run appliances.

Witnesses reported dozens upon dozens of "booms" and at least fifty homes were evacuated in the surrounding communities.

"The windows shook in my house," Lake County School Board member Debbie Stivender, who lives nearby, told the Orlando Sentinel. "I thought we were being bombed."


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