07/29/2013 11:52 pm ET Updated Jul 30, 2013

Lake County, Florida Explosions Reported At Blue Rhino Gas Plant (VIDEO/PHOTOS)

Explosions at a gas plant in Lake County, Fla., were reported on Monday night.

The series of fiery blasts began in the town of Tavares around 11 p.m. at Blue Rhino, a company that describes itself as "America's #1 propane tank exchange brand."

There were no reports of fatalities, but seven people were taken to area hospitals. Two workers escaped the plant unharmed.

Arial footage of the scene showed fires burning over a large area, and shooting large flames and plumes of smoke into the night sky, The Associated Press reported.

Resident Norma Haygood told Orlando's WESH 2, "It sounds like bombs are going off."

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Residents within a 1-mile radius of the plant were evacuated, The Orlando Sentinel reported, but that order was lifted at 3 a.m. on Tuesday after the fire was contained.

Blue Rhino is a subsidiary of Ferrellgas Partners, the second-largest distributor of propane in the U.S., NBC News reported.

In a news conference, Lake County Sheriff's Office spokesman John Herrell said the plant had about 53,000 20-pound propane cylinders on site. It is unknown at this time what started the fire and explosions.

Here's the latest news from The Associated Press:

TAVARES, Fla. — A series of explosions rocked a central Florida propane gas plant and sent "boom after boom after boom" through the neighborhood around it. Several people were injured, with at least three critically injured.

All the workers at the plant were accounted for early Tuesday after officials initially could not account for more than a dozen employees.

John Herrell of the Lake County Sheriff's Office said there were no fatalities despite massive blasts that ripped through the Blue Rhino propane plant late Monday night.

"Management is comfortable saying all of those they knew were there tonight have been accounted for," he said.

One person injured in the explosion was listed in critical condition at University of Florida Health Shands Hospital. Two others were listed in critical condition at Orlando Regional Medical Center and a spokeswoman there said a third patient was en route, also listed as critical.

Herrell said some others drove themselves to area hospitals.

The Blue Rhino plant, which is northwest of Orlando, refilled propane tanks typically used for barbecues and other uses.

Herrell said a crew of 24 to 26 people was working at the plant on an overnight shift when the explosions occurred around 11 p.m.

Video footage on WESH-TV in Orlando showed fires burning through trucks used to transport propane tanks, which were parked at the plant. The fire was sending plumes of smoke into the air hours after the blast. Emergency crews could also be seen massing nearby.

Herrell said an evacuation zone was initially a one-mile radius but had been reduced to a half-mile radius. No injuries have been reported from residents in the neighborhood and residents were later allowed to return to their homes.

Marni Whitehead, 33, who lives less than a mile from the plant, said she was in bed ready to go to sleep when she heard a loud boom.

"It was like a car had run into my house, is what I thought had happened," she said.

She ran outside and saw other neighbors outside and then they saw the explosions.

"We knew right away it was the plant, the propane plant," Whitehead said. "After that, it was just sort of panic."

Whitehead likened the explosions to Fourth of July fireworks. "And it was just boom after boom after boom," she said.

Herrell said officials believe the fire was contained and wouldn't spread to another part of the plant but they could not guarantee that.

Herrell said the plant usually has 53,000 20-pound propane tanks.

According to the Leesburg Daily Commercial, the plant was built in 2004 and employs fewer than 50 people.



Florida Propane Plant Explosion