• Massive explosion at Texas propane plant
    The explosions resulted in a huge fire, luckily there were few injuries

Safety

Massive explosion at Texas propane plant

Jul 31 2013

A facility in Texas that refills propane tanks for domestic use was destroyed on July 29th by a massive explosion. The Blue Rhino propane plant in Tavares was subjected to a series of blasts, beginning at around 23:00 local time (03:00 GMT), which resulted in the roof being blown off and several workers critically injured.

At least eight workers have been injured by the explosions that carried on for around an hour after the initial one was experienced. The blasts also resulted in a fire throughout the facility, although it is not yet clear as to what set the explosions off in the first place. Authorities are currently suggesting the incident may have been caused by equipment failure combined with human error.

The facility refurbished and refilled small propane tanks that are a common source of fuel in caravans and gas grills throughout the US. Around 53,000 small 20-pound propane tanks were housed in the facility prior to the incident, many of which were shot into the air and ignited as a result of the explosion. Firefighters had to wait for the tanks to stop exploding until they could begin to address the fire.

Luckily the evacuation of residents within a mile of the facility meant that no one living in the area was injured. Unfortunately of the 24 employees who were present at the site, six were injured and five are reported to be in critical condition. Some 15 workers were feared to be missing when services attended the scene, but were later found to be safe. All employees have been accounted for, according to an official statement from Ferrellgas Partners, the propane distributor responsible for the Blue Rhino plant.

Steve Wambold, president and chief executive of the company, said:  "Our thoughts and prayers are with our employees and the families affected by this incident. We would also like to applaud the excellent work of local emergency personnel – their quick response, ability to accurately account for all employees and seeing to their immediate medical needs, certainly helped to comfort everyone involved."

 


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