Man trapped after gas station explosion; recovery effort continues

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Recovery mission continues after gas station explosion. Katherine Scott reports during Action News Mornings on June 13, 2018. (WPVI)

Officials say the search for a missing man believed to be trapped in an underground tank after an explosion at a gas station in Bensalem, Bucks County is now a recovery effort.

Speaking to reporters early Wednesday morning, Battalion Chief Rob Sponheimer of Bensalem Fire Rescue was asked if there is a chance the man was still alive.

"We believe it's a recovery effort at this time," Sponheimer said.

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Bensalem Battalion Chief gives update on recovery efforts during Action News Mornings on June 13, 2018.



Sponheimer said crews are removing the rescue components from the scene and they will reconvene later in the morning for the recovery mission.

"Crews have been working all night on this incident. We are in the process of breaking down a lot of the equipment," Sponheimer said.



Sponheimer says the fume levels are too high to have personnel go underground in the tank. Police are going to remain on the scene for security; environmental and hazmat crews will also continue to monitor air quality.

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Search continues for missing man at Bensalem gas station. Katherine Scott reports during Action News Mornings on June 13, 2018.


Late Tuesday night, rescue crews were working to pump the gas out of the tank. Officials had to cut power to the neighborhood surrounding the Liberty Gas Station on the 1200 block of Bristol Pike after the explosion occurred around 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Ten homes in the area were evacuated for safety precautions and observers were moved back from the scene as concerns of harmful fumes arose. Bristol Pike was shut down, but reopened twelve hours later.

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Raw video: Chopper 6 was over a rescue scene in Bensalem, Pa. on June 12, 2018.



According to investigators, it was quickly determined that one person was critically injured and another was trapped below ground. Officials said the injured employee was taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition with burns over 45 percent of his body.

Employees tell Action News one of the co-owners of the gas station and a colleague were doing a maintenance check when it reportedly exploded.

The impact was so strong it could be felt blocks away.

"We were sitting on the couch in the living room and all of the sudden the couch started to vibrate and you heard the explosion," said Lisa McCaed of Bensalem. " I was thinking that a car had hit a property or something, but I never imagined that."

The names of the victims have not been released.

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Rescue efforts continue following explosion in Bensalem: Christie Ileto reports on Action News at 11 p.m., June 12, 2018.

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