‘It was bad, it was very bad’: Propane tank explosion injures 3, damages pizza shop

Updated: Aug. 6, 2020 at 4:07 PM EDT
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EMPORIA, Va. (WWBT) - A loud propane tank explosion in Emporia that brought down parts of the ceiling caused three people to be sent to the hospital Wednesday night.

Emporia Police say the explosion happened around 6:25 p.m. at Pino’s Pizza on West Atlantic Street.

“I heard an explosion. It sounded like a loud gunshot last night,” said William Gillus, who was next door at a hotel when he heard an explosion.

Firefighters believe the explosion came from the propane tanks, but the officials are continuing their investigation.

“It was bad. It was very bad. You can’t imagine what happened,” Mohamed Ibrahim said. Pino’s is Ibrahim’s family business.

The blast was so strong it brought down parts of the ceiling and damaged the gas station portion of the building.

“My dad got second-degree burns on his face, arm and head. My uncle had the ceiling come down on the top of his head,” Ibrahim said.

A third employee was also inside. All three victims were taken to VCU Medical Center for treatment.

“I was on my way to get here and this happened about five minutes before. When I got here, everything had exploded here,” Ibrahim said.

Mohamed said the dining room was closed to customers but the three people inside were handling drive-thru orders at the time of the blast.

Mohamed was on his way to work at the time.

“I’m always here. Every day I’m here working,” Mohamed said.

“It could have been me last night while I was outgoing for a little walk last night. Anything could have happened,” Gillus said.

Gillus usually helps out and cleans at the business but says he didn’t Wednesday.

Mohamed says Pino’s will be back.

“We can repair. We can repair everything and we are going to get it back up again,” Ibrahim said.

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