TECH
09/26/2013 06:45 pm ET

Orlando Warehouse Explosion Blamed On 'Whac-A-Mole' Inventor Aaron Fechter: Cops

The wall of an Orlando warehouse was demolished Thursday after an explosion, caused by the man who invented the popular Whac-A-Mole arcade game, cops said.

The blast occurred at about 12:30 p.m. at a former warehouse for the Showbiz Pizza chain, currently used to house animatronics equipment.

No one was inside the building at the time of the explosion and no injuries were reported, ClickOrlando.com reported.

The building's owner, Aaron Fechter, is the creator of animatronic characters that perform in places like Showbiz Pizza and Chuck E. Cheese, as well as Whac-A-Mole.

Fire officials said the explosion happened when a machine used to make the animatronics failed, and caused an experimental cooking oil to explode.

The resulting blast was felt in nearby homes and businesses, according to WFTV-TV.

"We were in the office having a conference meeting right across from the explosion. We were just sitting there and heard a big boom. It was more intense than a thunderstorm," witness Zachary Bartholomew told the station.

Another witness, Tim Roth, 59, whose office overlooks the warehouse, saw a mass of bricks and insulation flying through the air and black smoke billowing from the warehouse.

When he got to the entrance and saw that the front doors were blown off, he went inside. He saw debris from what looked like a fun house, full of old pinball machines, arcade games, fluorescent signs and old suits of armor, the Sun-Sentinel.com reported.

Orlando fire officials deemed the building safe shortly after 1:20 p.m. and said there was no danger of a collapse, BizJournals.com reported. However, all Amtrak and freight railroad traffic through downtown was suspended while the investigation continued.

Officials found five other tanks of the cooking fluid in the warehouse. The fire department kept the surrounding businesses evacuated for hours while they safely released the other cylinders.

Fechter is reportedly cooperating with authorities, WFTV-TV reported.

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