Blue Rhino propane gas plant explodes in Florida, injuring 8 (VIDEO)

The World

A series of explosions rocked a propane gas plant in central Florida late Monday night injuring eight people. At least four others are in critical condition.

Tavares Fire Chief Richard Keith said the massive fire was most likely caused by either equipment malfunction or possibly human error.

"We don't think there was any act of sabotage or anything like that," Keith said.

A spokesman for the Lake County sheriff's office said on Tuesday that all workers at the Blue Rhino facility in Tavares, northwest of Orlando, had been accounted for by early morning.

Fifteen people had been feared missing, Lt. John Herrell told a televised news conference, but all were later found safe. 

The fires were believed to be "contained" by around 1 a.m. Tuesday, Herrell said.

The Orlando Sentinel earlier cited Tavares city administrator John Drury as saying that 24 people were working the night shift at the plant on Monday.

The explosions began about 11 p.m. (local time) and continued for about an hour, according to reports. Sheriff Gary Borders told the Sentinel that the first blasts blew the roof off the plant.

Lt. Herrell said the plant housed 53,000 20-pound gas cylinders. According to the Associated Press, the facility refills propane tanks of the kind used in barbecues.

Around 200 emergency crew and law enforcement officials were called to the scene and an exclusion zone declared, the Sentinel reported. Homes up to a mile away were evacuated and roads temporarily closed.

Ashley McCormick, who lives in the neighboring town of Mount Dora, told ABC News that she could see the fire from more than 11km away.

"We've probably heard close to 100 or more [explosions]. I mean there are hundreds of propane tanks out there," she said.

"You could hear the explosions just... one after another and then after it would explode, a fireball would shoot up into the sky."

This YouTube video purports to show the explosion, with several loud "booms" coming one after the other. 

This aerial view from local TV station WESH shows the resulting fires:

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