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Explosion, fire destroy coffee shop in rural Georgia, 3 wounded

A destroyed coffee shop after an explosion and fire in Homerville, Ga., Friday, Aug. 17, 2018.

(Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner’s Office)

An explosion and a fire destroyed a coffee shop Friday in a rural south Georgia town, seriously injuring three people, officials said.

The explosion rocked the small Homerville, a city of about 2,500 people, shortly after noon, and after a warning from the officials of the city for residents to avoid the downtown area.

The researchers determined a construction crew installing fiber optic cable had ruptured an underground gas line, causing natural gas leak in a sewer connected to the coffee shop, said Glenn Allen, spokesman for Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens.

“In the store, the gas built up in the kitchen and there was a spark, causing the explosion,” Allen said late Friday.

Two employees and a customer were the only people in the coffee shop when it explodes, Allen said. They were airlifted to a hospital in Gainesville, Florida, with burns and other serious injuries,” he said.

Investigators initially reported that all three of the injured worked in the store, Allen said, but later learned they were confused.

Allen said the explosion and a resulting fire destroyed the small, single-story building, the Coffee Corner.

A photo taken by an investigator to the scene found the roof was partially collapsed.

Brick walls were blasted apart, with stones on the parking lot and piled on top of two cars parked next to the shop.

Homerville is located approximately 30 miles from the Georgia-Florida line.

The officials of the city’s Facebook page to urge residents Friday to stay away, which only “problems in the centre.”

“Social workers and all other teams to the area to be free of the traffic as possible in order to do their work,” the city of the Facebook post said.

Nan Mikell, Homerville the city manager, did not immediately return phone and e-mail messages.

No one answered the phone in the Clinch County Emergency Management Agency. The phone number for Homerville police was forwarded to Mikell voicemail.

Homerville is located about four hours drive southeast of Atlanta.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Amy’s Place is a news editor and reporter for Fox News.

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