Propane tanks explode, catch fire in Gurnee

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Propane tanks exploded at an industrial park in Gurnee, triggering an extra-alarm fire in the far northern suburb Thursday afternoon. (WLS)

Propane tanks exploded at an industrial park in Gurnee, triggering an extra-alarm fire in the far northern suburb Thursday afternoon.

Witnesses said they began hearing the explosions shortly after 12 p.m. at Pinnacle Propane Company in the 3800-block of Clearview Court, which fills the small tanks used with many barbecue grills.



The fire department arrived to find thick smoke and flames shot from the building, with explosions going off every few seconds.

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Firefighters from more than 30 departments were called in to help with manpower in the hot, humid weather. They also used a helicopter and video from a police department drone to determine the best way to fight the fire.

"We have crews that are in there, that are breaking up these piles of cylinders that ruptured and didn't rupture. We need to get in there and move them apart and then continue to wet the area down to continue to no active fire right now," Gurnee Fire Chief Fred Friedl said.

Pinnacle uses two large tanks to fill the smaller tanks, but those large tanks were still intact and not impacted by the fire, authorities said.

The police department evacuated homes and businesses within a mile to mile-and-a-half radius. They have since been allowed to return.

Everyone working inside the building has been accounted for and no injuries were reported, officials said. Streets were reopened and the fire was under control by 3 p.m.

Officials are still investigating how the fire began.
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