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Federal Investigators Fine Blue Rhino, Cite Numerous Safety Violations that Led to Explosion

February 6, 2014 | WMFE, Orlando - The U.S. Dept. of Labor has given citations to the Blue Rhino Propane facility in Tavares in connection with last summer's explosion at the plant.

The July 29 nighttime blaze last summer at the Blue Rhino Propane Plant was fueled by more than 50,000 propane bottles, much like those used for backyard grilling.

The report from the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, says Blue Rhino employees were exposed to fire and explosion hazards. One hazard involved bleeding, or emptying, leftover propane tanks in a storage yard during the refurbishing process.

In a separate report released this week, Florida’s fire marshal also cited bleeding the tanks as a probable cause of the fire-- with ignition from a forklift.

In total, OSHA found Blue Rhino’s parent company Ferrellgas, committed 26 safety violations, 20 of them serious. OSHA is fining the company $73,000.  

Ferrellgas did not return WMFE's request for comments.


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