Blue Rhino Explosions: How Safe Was The Plant? [Video]

WESH News 2 in Orlando is reporting that the Blue Rhino gas plant was investigated last year by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for defective cleaning procedures.

The Blue Rhino company cleans, refurbishes, and refills LP gas cylinders. Those tanks that are beyond repair, it sends for scrap to salvage and re-use the metal. Self-evidently, it is a potentially dangerous business, as can be seen from the ferocity and strength of the explosion that ripped through the plant in Tavares,Fla. at 10.30 pm on Monday. The plant usually stores some 53,000 20-pound cylinders.

Initial reports were confused and contradictory regarding casualties, and some media outlets reported “many dead.” Fortunately, these reports turned out to be untrue, and Lake County spokesman, John Herrell, said that all the employees were accounted for by 2.00 am. The local hospitals reported that there were seven injured, some critically. Herrell explained that the reason there had been so few injuries was the fire had started in a different part of the building, far away from them.

Explosions were still being heard early Tuesday as the tanks continued to explode. Small cylinders sitting on semi-tractor trailers also caught fire.

Doubtless there will be an investigation from OSHA, and a lot of questions to be answered by the Blue Rhino company.