UPDATE: Douglas gas explosion ruled accidental - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Douglas gas explosion ruled accidental

COFFEE CO., GA (WALB) -

Two Ferrellgas employees who were unloading propane tanks remain hospitalized at an Augusta burn center following a propane explosion at a facility on Highway 32 just west of Douglas.

The State Fire Marshal's office confirmed Tuesday that the cause of the explosion was accidental and ruled human error.

Investigators say the employees were transferring propane from one truck to another when a leak occurred followed by the blast.

Residents  from more than a mile away reported hearing the blast which officials say sent flames upwards of 40 feet in the air.

When firefighters arrived they found two trucks burning at the tank farm on Highway 32.

It took 45 minutes to get put the truck fires out but a leak continues forcing officials to shut down the highway for several hours.

Tuesday morning crews removed the trucks from the scene.

The conditions of the victims have not been released. A third employee injured in the blast was taken to a  hospital and released.

Fire investigators say propane blasts like this are rare and have only seen two such explosions in the past decade.

Douglas Fire Department Capt. Casey Wright said, "Training really paid off. They did an exceptional job firefighting. They were able to extinguish the fire, contain the fire, you know not within two or three minutes, but it was relatively quick."

Because a propane leak continued, firefighters blocked off the highway and let the tank empty out on its own.

Coffee County Fire Chief Steve Carter said, "At this point, we have a small leak still on the delivery truck, and we're diluting it down and going to allow it to bleed off until it's empty."

No homes had to be evacuated. We don't know the names or conditions of the three men who were injured.

Copyright 2013 WALB.  All rights reserved.  

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