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Blue Rhino Gas Depot Explosion 

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A large series of explosions has rocked a gas plant in Lake County, causing multiple deaths and injuries and forcing the evacuations of residents at least a mile away, authorities said.

Twenty-four people were working the night shift, and 10 people are unaccounted for, Tavares City Administrator John Drury said. The number of injured was not immediately known.

The explosions began a little before 11 p.m. at Blue Rhino, a propane-tank business at 300 C.R. Road 448 and lasted for more than half an hour.

All the explosions happened inside the plant, blowing the roof off, Lake County Sheriff Gary Borders said.

"I heard a loud bomb sounds," said Lisa Garner, 43, who lives in Lakeside, a Tavares subdivision near county roads 461 and 448. "I thought somebody ran into my house."

Five helicopters landed at LakeTech Institute of Public Safety, according to public-safety scanner transmissions. They took patients to Lakeland Regional Medical Center, St. Joseph Medical Center in Ocala, Orlando Regional Medical Center and Tampa General Hospital. At least six ambulances could be seen.

The Lake County Medical Examiner also has been notified.

Residents described sounds similar to a shotgun or fireworks and saw bursts of light and a bright orange glow above the treetops, they said. Some reported a "giant fireball" in the sky.

The sight of flames was reported more than five miles away. The vibrations could be felt as far away as Mount Dora.

Scores of people lined Lake Dora on Lakeshore Drive and gathering in a park in downtown Tavares to watch.

C.R. 448 was closed for three or four miles east of the plant.

Blue Rhino relocated to Tavares about seven years ago, according to an April 2006 article in the Orlando Sentinel. Its headquarters is in North Carolina.

Added: Jul-30-2013 Occurred On: Jul-30-2013
By: bigEcod
Regional News
Tags: blue, rhino, gas, depot, explosion, florida
Location: Florida, United States (load item map)
Marked as: featured
Views: 37220 | Comments: 130 | Votes: 5 | Favorites: 5 | Shared: 15 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 2
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