Local 6 goes inside downtown Orlando building explosion

Owner says experimental cooking fuel explosion caused by faulty canister

ORLANDO, Fla. - The owner of the vacant warehouse in downtown Orlando says he thinks a faulty canister caused the explosion on Thursday that partially collapsed the building and shook nearby businesses.

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Aaron Fechter, who owns Creative Engineering, told Local 6 on Friday that he thinks the pressurized canister with the experimental cooking fuel Hydrilium failed and led to the explosion.

"There was a gas. It's called hydrilium," Fechter said. "It's a gas that I'm experimenting with and that I'm making in small quantities inside my building."

The blast occurred around 12:30 p.m. Thursday at 47 West Jefferson Street, a former warehouse for Showbiz Pizza, near Robinson Street and State.  No one was inside the building at the time of the explosion and no injuries were reported.

"I'll work very closely with the fire department to make sure that I'm not missing anything that i could be doing more safely, which includes checking out the manufacturers of my bottles," said Fechter.

Orlando Fire Assistant Chief Rich Wales said the explosion was caused by experimental cooking fuel being made by Fetcher.  The use for the fuel was not immediately known.

A wall of the building, which houses business materials and equipment used to manufacture animatronics, was blown away in the explosion, exposing both floors inside and scattering rock and debris into a lot near some railroad tracks.

Authorities also released the 911 calls reporting the explosion on Friday.

"There was just an explosion in a building down below," one caller, who said she was working on the 19th floor of the Bank of America building. "I'm at the corner of Livingston and Orange. It looks like the whole side of the building just blew out. It was a huge explosion."

Fechter is an inventor who once co-owned the Showbiz Pizza chain, and he's also credited with inventing the game Whac-A-Mole.

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