Explosion at print shop in Phoenix suburb injures 4

CHANDLER, Ariz. (AP) — An explosion Thursday at a strip mall print shop in a Phoenix suburb blew off the roof and scattered debris around the building, seriously injuring four men inside the business, authorities said.

The cause of the 9:23 a.m. explosion was not immediately known, but authorities were checking for a possible gas leak in a parking lot next to the building, said Chandler Fire Battalion Chief Keith Welch, a department spokesman.

“That’s still under investigation,” Welch said of the possible gas leak.

Welch also said it was unclear if the injured were employees or customers of the print shop.

Dr. Kevin Foster, director of the Arizona Burn Center at Valleywise Health in Phoenix, said two of the men were in critical condition in an intensive care unit with the other two in serious condition. But all four of them were expected to recover.

Foster didn’t identify any of the victims, saying they were “all young males” who appeared to suffer second-degree “propane flash burns” to their arms, hands and legs.

Foster said the victims had burns ranging from 16% to 30% of their bodies and all will need surgery and extended hospital stays, but the injuries could have been worse considering the extent of the damage.

A branch library, a preschool and about a dozen businesses in the strip mall were evacuated. No injuries were reported apart from the people who were inside the print shop but a few nearby businesses were damaged, Welch said.

Authorities evacuated about 25 homes adjacent to the parking lot where authorities were checking for a gas leak, Welch said.

News video showed the building of Platinum Printing severely damaged, with debris scattered around the building, including on top at least one parked car.

“It was a pretty devastating explosion,” Welch told reporters. “The inside of the building is completely destroyed, and if you get closer to the building, the walls have been pushed out.”

The print shop’s website said it provides construction documents to architects, builders and contractors.

The incident drew a huge response, with about 50 emergency vehicles and over 100 personnel from seven different agencies.

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