Neighbors of Blue Rhino plant file lawsuit over explosion

Cleanup takes place at a Blue Rhino propane plant in Tavares.
Cleanup takes place at a Blue Rhino propane plant in Tavares.

TAVARES, Fla. – Herbert and Diane Welder were jolted from what was a quiet Monday evening last July by the sounds of explosions emanating from the Blue Rhino propane plant just across the railroad tracks from their 22-acre rural parcel.

[READ: Lawsuit]

Last week, Blue Rhino found something emanating from the Welders: a lawsuit. The Welders are filing a lawsuit against Ferrellgas claiming negligence caused the explosion and are seeking more than $100,000 in damages.

"He suffered damage to his buildings, to the value of this property one of the most interesting types of damages is all the little pieces of shrapnel all through his 22-acres of property," said James Scott of Bogin, Muns & Munns. "That's going to take a lot of money to clean up."

The Welders' home they hoped to live in by now was damaged from at least one tank dropping through the roof in the explosion.

The Welders also are worried about the plant reopening in the same spot.

"We'd like to see Blue Rhino move a greater distance away from where they're located, there's a school nearby, other people live there, there are businesses and they're a nuisance," said Scott.

Local 6 reached out to Ferrell Gas Headquarters in Kansas but received no response.

Intense heat and exploding tanks pierced the sky July 30 as nearly 53,000 propane canisters caught fire and exploded.

The State Fire Marshal is still working to determine what sparked the blasts.