Explosion cuts power, destroys Heber shed

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HEBER CITY -- Oxygen tanks inside a Heber City shed exploded Monday afternoon, cutting power hundreds of people.

A melted heap of debris is all that's left of the shed; a massive fire inside sent the Heber City neighborhood into a short panic.

"I was wondering if everybody was all right, or safe, you know?" said witness Cory Simmons.

Just after 4:00 Monday afternoon, neighbors called 911 to report a fire in the outbuilding behind 334 West 100 South. Fire crews set up a perimeter within five minutes; within 15 minutes there were explosions.

"When I came out, it was big, black smoke just coming. And then, I started to hear them: boom, boom, boom! Like three, four, five times," Simmons said.

Welding supplies, gases and about 40 oxygen tanks created a violent inferno chucking debris over yards and homes.

"Those gases started to explode. They did damage buildings a block and a half or so away, windows and what not," said Heber City Police Chief Ed Rhoades.

Authorities evacuated about a two-block radius. Gas and power was cut to hundreds of customers. Multiple agencies responded to keep crowds at a safe distance, and when the flames were finally out they were glad find that no one was injured.

"No one was hurt that we know of at this time, and that's really a blessing. This was quite a fire," Rhoades said.

The police chief says in his 11 years in the department he's never seen a fire cause this much commotion.

Fire crews are still investigation how the blaze started.

E-mail: wjohnson@ksl.com


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