Explosion Kills Four And Levels W. Virginia Store

GHENT, W.Va. (AP) - A volunteer firefighter, a building
inspector and two other people have been killed in an explosion
that leveled a convenience store near Winterplace ski resort.
Authorities say five others were seriously injured in this
morning's blast. The firefighter who died also was a paramedic.
The explosion occurred just before 11 a-m at Flat Top Little
General Store in Ghent as firefighters and paramedics were
responding to a report of a propane gas leak.
State Fire Marshal Sterling Lewis says an above-ground tank
capable of holding 500 pounds of propane was being worked on by
Little General employees at the time. The propane tank and the
store's underground gasoline tanks did not explode.
Lewis says the initial thought is that fumes entered into the
store and somehow ignited.
Seven homes and a nearby elementary school suffered minor
damage. No injuries were reported at those sites.
Authorities have not determined whether any customers were in
the store.
Authorities also do not know if there were more victims. A
search of the debris was halted this evening and guards have been
posted to secure the area overnight. The search is to resume
tomorrow morning.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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