Explosion Levels Gas Station, Kills Four

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Explosion Levels Gas Station, Kills Four

GHENT, W.Va. -- A gas station's fuel tank exploded here just before 11 a.m. yesterday, destroying the building and killing at least four people, authorities told The Associated Press.

The Flat Top Little General Store, which was located near a ski resort, was reduced to a twisted metal sign showing the price of gasoline and debris, the report stated. At least nine other people were seriously hurt, among them, a firefighter and paramedic.

Authorities believe that a propane or liquid petroleum tank exploded at the same time a fire truck was pulling into the station in response to a reported gas leak, the report stated.

The blast was felt at least a mile away at a store selling ski gear. "I thought we got struck by lightning. The whole building shook. The power went off," Ben Monast, manager of the Ski Shop, told the AP.

Keli Akers told the AP she was driving to her house about a mile from the gas station yesterday when she smelled propane. When she got home, she saw debris falling into her yard. Akers added that her mother "felt a huge jolt" at the time of the blast. When Akers attempted to drive to the scene, roads were closed and a local elementary school was damaged.

"I know people there," she told the AP. "But it's not just the people who work there. Everyone goes there. Anyone could have been there."