Worker injured in gas explosion, fire at Deerfield Beach restaurant

DEERFIELD BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Broward Sheriff’s Fire Rescue crews is on the scene of a fire in Deerfield Beach where an Amerigas employee was injured after a gas line ignited at a restaurant.

Crews are in the processes of wrapping things up after being on the scene for several hours at a shopping center on the 800 block of West Sample Road, Thursday.

According to reports, Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue crews treated the burn victim at the shopping center, who suffered second degree burns to the upper part of his body. He was transported to Broward Health North in Pompano Beach. His injuries were not life-threatening.

“You have propane that’s leaking. Not only is it leaking, it’s on fire,” said Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue spokesperson Mike Jachles. “We need to mitigate that. Obviously, our concern is for the safety of everybody here. To evacuate everybody, make sure everybody is safe.”

Broward Sheriff’s Fire Rescue evacuated about two dozen businesses in the shopping center.

As of 4:30 p.m., officials said they believe most of the gas had burned off.

A spokesperson from Amerigas confirmed that one its employees was hurt in the propane explosion and fire, which happened at about 1:35 p.m.

“This individual remains in the hospital at this time,” said the spokesperson. “We are grateful to the Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue and all emergency responders for their tremendous assistance and effort. We continue to work cooperatively with these public safety officials to investigate the cause of this incident.”

The worker was attempting to refill the two 250 gallon tanks of propane in the back of the Padaria Brasil restaurant at the shopping center when part of the tank exploded. It engulfed both that tank and the one next to it.

The restaurant and a neighboring bakery were open at the time of the explosion. According to one of the customers, someone ran in and screamed “fire” but those inside the business heard the explosion soon after.

“We were just wrapping up eating. We just sat down,” said restaurant customer Gil Luis. “It was a delicious lunch, and as we were turning our back, we heard this big gas explosion. We were able to make it out, and there was a couple more explosions, and we all fled down to this area.”

Restaurant manager Marcus Baroso said he’s unsure how this situation escalated so quickly. “The guy was filling the propane tank, and somehow it exploded on him,” he said. “I don’t know what caused that.”

Northwest Ninth Avenue/Military Trail is closed north of Sample Road. Sample Road is open, but lanes are restricted.

Everyone inside the shopping plaza was able to get out safely. The building does not look as if it sustained much flame damage.

Please check back on WSVN.com and 7News for more details on this developing story.

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