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Propane tanks ignite and shut down intersection

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Parking lot repairs at a gas station in South Bend caused an evacuation and traffic shut down after propane tanks caught on fire on Wednesday.

"It was real fast," said Mulligan’s Bar and Grill owner Sue Mulligan. She said the restaurant which sits across the street from the gas station was getting ready for its lunch rush when all the commotion started.

"They had big hoses hooked up and the fire team people came and just closed everything down," added Mulligan.

South Bend Fire Marshal Chico Rodriguez said four 100 lb. propane tanks were being used for asphalt repairs behind the Speedway Gas Station. Rodriguez said a mechanical failure caused the gas to ignite just after 11:30 a.m.

"We did some evacuations to the south, one square block area, for reasons that the gas was leaking and we wanted to make sure that everybody was safe," said Rodriguez.

Fire crews quickly got the blaze under control and continued to hose down the tanks to cool them off until they could get the gas shut off.

While crews worked, the busy intersection of State Road 23 and Edison Road was completely shut down.

"Well it’s kind of confusing," said Lora Lopez as she turned around in the Edison Plaza Parking Lot.

"There's no cops to tell you where to go or nothing, it’s just you fend for yourself," she added.

Lopez’s car was one of hundreds that did the turnaround at all four of the arteries to the intersection.

Part of the roadway started opening back up just after 1 in the afternoon. The entire intersection was back open by 2:30 p.m.

There were no injuries in the fire and the fire department ruled it accidental.





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