PICTURES

Eight hurt in Florida gas plant blast

This image taken from Associated Press video shows flames from a gas plant explosion in Tavares City, Fla., on Monday July 29, 2013. All the workers at the Florida propane gas plant rocked by massive explosions were accounted for early Tuesday mornin
This image taken from Associated Press video shows flames from a gas plant explosion in Tavares City, Fla., on Monday July 29, 2013. All the workers at the Florida propane gas plant rocked by massive explosions were accounted for early Tuesday morning after officials initially could not account for more than a dozen employees. John Herrell of the Lake County Sheriff's Office said early Tuesday that there were no fatalities despite massive blasts that ripped through the Blue Rhino propane plant late Monday night. Seven people were injured and transported to local hospitals. -- PHOTO: AP
This handout photo released by ClickOrlando.com on July 30, 2013 shows propane tank cylinders explosions at the Blue Rhino plant in Tavares, central Florida late July 29, 2013. Fifteen people were unaccounted for and nearby neighborhoods were evacuat
This handout photo released by ClickOrlando.com on July 30, 2013 shows propane tank cylinders explosions at the Blue Rhino plant in Tavares, central Florida late July 29, 2013. Fifteen people were unaccounted for and nearby neighborhoods were evacuated after a series of explosions shook a propane gas plant in central Florida, US media reported early July 30, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP
A Tavares police officer walks past propane cylinders on the grounds of a propane gas company, after a series of explosions rocked the central Florida propane gas plant, on July 30, 2013 in Tavares, Florida. The explosions occurred late last night, i
A Tavares police officer walks past propane cylinders on the grounds of a propane gas company, after a series of explosions rocked the central Florida propane gas plant, on July 30, 2013 in Tavares, Florida. The explosions occurred late last night, injuring eight workers. -- PHOTO: AFP
Firefighters walk through propane cylinders on the grounds of Blue Rhino, a propane gas company, after a series of explosions rocked the central Florida propane gas plant, on July 30, 2013 in Tavares, Florida. The explosions occurred late last night,
Firefighters walk through propane cylinders on the grounds of Blue Rhino, a propane gas company, after a series of explosions rocked the central Florida propane gas plant, on July 30, 2013 in Tavares, Florida. The explosions occurred late last night, injuring eight workers. -- PHOTO: AFP
Firefighters walk through propane cylinders on the grounds of Blue Rhino, a propane gas company, after a series of explosions rocked the central Florida propane gas plant, on July 30, 2013 in Tavares, Florida. The explosions occurred late last night,
Firefighters walk through propane cylinders on the grounds of Blue Rhino, a propane gas company, after a series of explosions rocked the central Florida propane gas plant, on July 30, 2013 in Tavares, Florida. The explosions occurred late last night, injuring eight workers. -- PHOTO: AFP
A Lake County firefighter walks through propane cylinders on the grounds of Blue Rhino, a propane gas company, after a series of explosions rocked the central Florida propane gas plant, on July 30, 2013 in Tavares, Florida. The explosions occurred la
A Lake County firefighter walks through propane cylinders on the grounds of Blue Rhino, a propane gas company, after a series of explosions rocked the central Florida propane gas plant, on July 30, 2013 in Tavares, Florida. The explosions occurred late last night, injuring eight workers. -- PHOTO: AFP
Propane cylinders lie on the grounds of Blue Rhino, a propane gas company, after a series of explosions rocked the central Florida propane gas plant, on July 30, 2013 in Tavares, Florida. The explosions occurred late last night, injuring eight worker
Propane cylinders lie on the grounds of Blue Rhino, a propane gas company, after a series of explosions rocked the central Florida propane gas plant, on July 30, 2013 in Tavares, Florida. The explosions occurred late last night, injuring eight workers. -- PHOTO: AFP
Propane cylinders lie on the grounds of Blue Rhino, a propane gas company, after a series of explosions rocked the central Florida propane gas plant, on July 30, 2013 in Tavares, Florida. The explosions occurred late last night, injuring eight worker
Propane cylinders lie on the grounds of Blue Rhino, a propane gas company, after a series of explosions rocked the central Florida propane gas plant, on July 30, 2013 in Tavares, Florida. The explosions occurred late last night, injuring eight workers. -- PHOTO: AFP
A Lake County firefighter works after a series of explosions rocked Blue Rhino, a central Florida propane gas plant, on July 30, 2013 in Tavares, Florida. The explosions occurred late last night, injuring eight workers. -- PHOTO: AFP
A Lake County firefighter works after a series of explosions rocked Blue Rhino, a central Florida propane gas plant, on July 30, 2013 in Tavares, Florida. The explosions occurred late last night, injuring eight workers. -- PHOTO: AFP
Firefighters walk past propane cylinders on the grounds of Blue Rhino, a propane gas company, after a series of explosions rocked the central Florida propane gas plant, on July 30, 2013 in Tavares, Florida. The explosions occurred late last night, in
Firefighters walk past propane cylinders on the grounds of Blue Rhino, a propane gas company, after a series of explosions rocked the central Florida propane gas plant, on July 30, 2013 in Tavares, Florida. The explosions occurred late last night, injuring eight workers. -- PHOTO: AFP
Propane cylinders lie on the grounds of Blue Rhino, a propane gas company, after a series of explosions rocked the central Florida propane gas plant, on July 30, 2013 in Tavares, Florida. The explosions occurred late last night, injuring eight worker
Propane cylinders lie on the grounds of Blue Rhino, a propane gas company, after a series of explosions rocked the central Florida propane gas plant, on July 30, 2013 in Tavares, Florida. The explosions occurred late last night, injuring eight workers. -- PHOTO: AFP
Propane cylinders lie on the grounds of Blue Rhino, a propane gas company, after a series of explosions rocked the central Florida propane gas plant, on July 30, 2013 in Tavares, Florida. The explosions occurred late last night, injuring eight worker
Propane cylinders lie on the grounds of Blue Rhino, a propane gas company, after a series of explosions rocked the central Florida propane gas plant, on July 30, 2013 in Tavares, Florida. The explosions occurred late last night, injuring eight workers. -- PHOTO: AFP
Propane cylinders lie on the grounds of Blue Rhino, a propane gas company, after a series of explosions rocked the central Florida propane gas plant, on July 30, 2013 in Tavares, Florida. A series of explosions shook a propane gas plant in central Fl
Propane cylinders lie on the grounds of Blue Rhino, a propane gas company, after a series of explosions rocked the central Florida propane gas plant, on July 30, 2013 in Tavares, Florida. A series of explosions shook a propane gas plant in central Florida, injuring eight people, with three in critical condition, local authorities said on Tuesday. -- PHOTO: AFP

MIAMI, Florida (AFP) - A series of explosions shook a propane gas plant in central Florida, injuring eight people, with three in critical condition, local authorities said on Tuesday.

"The balance that we have is eight people were injured, and at least three in critical condition. They are workers at the plant," John Herrell, spokesman for the Lake County Sheriff's Office told the press.

Herrell said the explosions began around 10.30pm on Monday when "a crew of 24 to 26 people was working the overnight shift." The blasts set off a huge fire at the Blue Rhino plant, which firefighters contained early Tuesday.

A small leak in one of the largest tanks continued on Tuesday, but did not pose a risk to the city of Tavares where the plant is located, according to authorities.

"We continue to monitor the situation and assist the local emergency responders as requested," said Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Bryan Koon, categorising the explosion as an "isolated event."

Mr Richard Keith, head of the Tavares Fire Department, told reporters "we don't think there was any act of sabotage or anything like that." The explosion was likely due to equipment or human error, he said.

Some nearby areas had been evacuated overnight, but restrictions have since been lifted.

The Orlando Sentinel wrote that the first explosions before midnight blew the roof off the plant, which was followed by more blasts early Tuesday.

Residents told local media they had seen a "giant fireball" in the sky.

Several injured people were taken to hospitals in Orlando and nearby areas.

Authorities, who at first said as many as 15 workers were missing, said later that they had all been accounted for.