An explosion rocked Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday, damaging nearby homes and multiple buildings in Rapho Township.
According to Rapho Township Supervisor Jere Swarr, a storage facility employee smelled propane and noticed a broken heater shortly after arriving at work. He did not turn on any lights – which may have ignited the gas – and immediately left the building, WGAL reported.
“Of all six employees, he never turns the lights on when he walks through the door, and he’s the only one of the six. It’s just a habit. Even if he hadn’t smelled the gas, he wouldn’t have turned the lights on,” Swarr said.
Eventually, the propane ignited, destroying the main building. No one was injured in the incident.
“We lost our building. We have heavy damage in our office building, but they’re buildings. No lives were lost. And the explosion did not damage the heart of Rapho Township. We will be back. We will rise up. We have a great community and great neighbors,” Swarr said.
After the destructive blast, officials warned crews were burning off excess propane.
“I do want you to know there are two propane tanks on the property. There are propane contractors on site that are offloading the residual product in the tank as well as burning off those gasses. And so, neighbors might see a flame. That’s a completely normal part of that operation. They’re currently doing that. They’ll probably do that throughout the day and possibly into (Thursday),” said Lori Shenk from the Rapho Township Emergency Management Agency.
Multiple families were evacuated from the area and are receiving assistance from the Red Cross, which is providing comfort, care, water and snacks.
For Red Cross assistance, please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.