All workers at a gas plant rocked by explosions have been accounted for after officials initially feared as many as 15 people had been killed.

At least 24 people were working the night shift at the plant in Tavares, Lake County, when a series of blasts happened just before 11pm local time.

The missing employees were found hours later as firefighters began to contain the flames. Details of any of their injuries are not yet known.

The roof was blown off the plant. Pic: Tyler Mackenzie Photography

Seven workers had initially been taken to hospital, some in a critical condition, after emergency crews were called to the Blue Rhino propane processing plant.

The explosions were strong enough to blow the roof off and were felt by residents living up to 10 miles away from the scene, although no neighbours were injured.

Firefighters’ efforts were hampered when more fuel containers exploded as the flames spread. They are starting to contain the flames and the cause of the explosions is being investigated.

“I heard a loud bomb sound,” resident Lisa Garner told the Orlando Sentinel.

Residents, many of them elderly, were evacuated

Local businessman Jim Mamula told Sky News: “We could see the flames and the initial explosion knocked us off our feet. We could see the heat from the flames and it was light like daytime.”

“There were two short explosions larger than anything we’ve seen since. The secondary explosions immediately followed.

“There are at least three large holding tanks about 30,000 gallons each of propane. They’re intact and only about 40ft from the flames. The heat is pretty intense.”

Resident Norman Hope said: “We’re a retirement area mainly and a lot of people have difficulty breathing.”

Fox News reporter Tracy Jasem, in Tavares, told Sky News: “Everybody thought there would be fatalities – it was such a massive fire.

“Although there were other containers that could have exploded, it seems we’ve escaped that possibility.”

Lake County Sheriff Department spokesman Lt John Herrell later said the evacuation zone around the scene had been reduced from a mile to half a mile.

Several of the evacuated residents were taken in by a local church.

source:Skynews