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Gas leak forces evacuation of building

About 100 people have to leave the Airport Industrial Park building the company occupies as the 1,000-gallon propylene tank, its seal broken, is repaired.

By JAMIE JONES, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 7, 2002


BROOKSVILLE -- About 100 people were evacuated from the Airport Industrial Park on Thursday morning because of a leaky propylene tank.

Employees of Monitor Products Inc. noticed blue gas coming from the 1,000-gallon tank shortly after 9 a.m. at 15400 Flight Path Drive south of Brooksville.

Firefighters and sheriff's deputies blocked off the tank outside of the company's beige building. No other businesses were evacuated, authorities said.

Carl Sunden, owner of the company, said there had been a problem with the tank early Thursday and a repairman was looking at it. While he was working, part of the seal was damaged and the leak began, Sunden said.

The company makes heat exchangers for boats.

Sam Alkas, 46, who works in shipping at the company, said he had noticed the fumes and hissing sound of the tank while he was working early Thursday.

"The place smelled like gas," he said.

Sunden stood outside of his company around noon, waiting for gas company workers to empty the tank, repair and refill it. Firefighters sat beside a large tanker truck in case an explosion occurred. It didn't.

The leak was fixed just before 2 p.m. and emergency workers left, said Danny Roberts, operations chief for the Hernando County Fire Rescue District.

Sunden sent his employees home Thursday and said he thought that the company would reopen today.

-- Jamie Jones covers law enforcement and courts in Hernando County and can be reached at 754-6114. Send e-mail to jjones@sptimes.com.

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