Eight people injured in explosions at propane tank plant

By WEEK Producer

July 30, 2013 Updated Jul 30, 2013 at 3:29 PM CDT

TAVARES, Fla. --The explosions have stopped and the fire is out at a propane plant in Florida but it is still too dangerous for anybody to enter the plant's property. There's still a tank that is leaking.

Something caused an explosion at the plant Monday night that left eight people injured and kept firefighters busy all night and all day.

Though the fire was only smoldering by morning, a leaking tank kept everybody away from the Blue Rhino Propane Gas Plant in Tavares, Florida.

"The valve is leaking. They're putting water on it and the plan is to have that product that's in the tank off load it onto a truck and take it away,” said Tavares Police Lt. Jayson Paynter.

The leak delayed crews wanting to start their investigation and cleanup from what was a spectacular fire overnight.

As many as 50,000 exploding propane tanks, the small ones used for grilling, lit up the night sky in central Florida, near Orlando.

"All of a sudden we heard just big booms and loud noises and we looked outside and there was this big fire,” said a witness.

Homes nearby were evacuated and eight workers at the plant were injured, three critically.

By morning, it was evident how destructive the explosion was. Exploding tanks littered nearby neighborhoods and damaged neighboring businesses.

"Just blind luck that it didn't get any worse because of those three tanks not exploding,” said Tavares Mayor Robert Wolfe.

Authorities cannot say yet what caused the fire but appears to be either human or mechanical error.