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Late last night multiple explosions occurred resulting in a huge fire at the Blue Rhino propane plant in Tavares, Lake County, Florida.  The fire could be seen from surrounding Seminole, Orange and Volusia Counties.  This is a video from someone in Leesburg over 10 miles away.  People in Lady Lake, 15 miles away, heard the explosions.


There is currently a substantial inferno burning, mass damage is expected and a mammoth response by local first responders is taking place.  Repeated explosions rattled windows and shook houses around Lake Harris and Lake Dora.  It appears that the propane tanks – normal backyard barbeque tanks – are exploding one by one.  As the tanks explode, they fire off in different directions like missiles. It is estimated that there are usually 30,000  to 50,000 propane tanks in the yard at any given time.  As more tanks explode, huge fireballs are shot in the air illuminating the Central Lake County sky.


The plant is located in largely an industrial area, however, several residences including a mobile home park are next to the plant.  Multiple injuries are being reported.  It is expected that approximately 15 to 20 employees would have been present.  Law enforcement is evacuating all residences within a one mile radius of the propane plant located at 300 County Road 448.  Roads in the areas are shut down including CR 561.  There are at least 5 separate fires burning and spreading.  A huge plume of smoke has engulfed the area.  Up to five medical choppers were airlifting the injured and transporting them to local hospitals.


There is very limited information available at this point and not much is known about the cause and origin of the explosions. We have handled many explosion cases including fires resulting from propane tanks.  These fires can be devastating and are often the result of carelessness ultra-hazardous materials or defects in the equipment.  At this point, all we can do is pray for the victims and their families as well as the firefighters and other first responders.

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