Lightning strike: 'The gas tank exploded and there's a huge hole'

No injuries reported at Florida gas station

DELTONA, Fla. – A lightning strike ruptured an in-ground gas tank Tuesday night, causing an explosion at a Deltona gas station, according to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.

No one was injured in the strike, which was reported just before 8 p.m. at the Shell station at 2885 Howland Blvd.

"There was quite the big explosion," Sgt. Chuck Hillyard said.  "This is the first time I've seen anything quite this bad."

According to deputies, the strike left behind a 15-foot-wide hole in the concrete and debris was scattered from the blast.

A clerk at the gas station called 911.

"Stuff just went, like, 200 feet in the air," he said. "There's stuff everywhere. The gas tank exploded and there's a huge hole in the ground."

The clerk told the dispatcher that he never saw any flames but smoke was coming from the ground.

"There was somebody at the gas pump. I don't know if they're hurt or not," the clerk said. 

Hillyard said no injuries were reported.

"That is the craziest thing I've ever seen in my life," the 911 caller said. "You know those big bumps at the gas station you go over? They flew all the way into Winn Dixie's parking lot."

Luis Nazario, who lives behind the Shell Station, said it was a scary to see and feel when it happened.

"It was scary," Nazario said. "I saw one lightning and it was small and then I saw the big one. Our walls and even the floor were trembling."

According to firefighters, the gas tank rupture caused a fuel leak, but the extent of the leak was not immediately known.

Workers were at the gas station early Wednesday, pumping out fuel from underground tanks.

Firefighters said state Environmental Protection Agency workers would be taking soil samples to determine the extent of contamination caused by the fuel leak.

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