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Massive Sioux Falls fire, explosion involved propane tanks, semi trucks

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - A massive fire and explosion in western Sioux Falls on Thursday night at a welding company involved exploding propane storage tanks with flames spreading to five semis with more tanks stored inside them.

The multiple large explosions came from the rear of the A-Ox Welding Supply Co. with a rapid expansion of flames. When the fire reached the semis, it eventually reached a diesel fuel tank on one of the trucks causing heavy black smoke as it burned off the fuel, said the Sioux Falls and Fire Rescue department.

Because of the possibility of toxic fumes and more explosions, officials immediately evacuated the area around the company.

After the explosions ended and most of the fuel burned off, the department used a drone to fly over the area to check conditions inside the tank storage area. The 36 firefighters and department officers using six fire trucks were then able to put water on the tank area as well as putting out multiple spot grass fires in a wooded area near the company and a bike path.

All employees were out of the building safely as the fire spread, so no one was injured, including any firefighters.

Crews were on the scene overnight to monitor conditions. Sioux Falls fire inspector Mike Schmidt with assistance from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives on Friday was continuing to investigate the cause of the fire.

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