CHANDLER, Ariz. - Federal authorities have run into some delays while investigating the cause of an explosion at a Chandler strip mall print shop that seriously injured four men inside the building.
Tom Mangan, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the agency’s National Response Team can’t go into the building until its walls are deemed structurally sound after the roof was blown off.
The cause of the explosion on Aug. 26 remains under investigation, but officials said the ATF is looking at a possible fuel-air explosion with a potential gas leak that might have ignited.
Mangan also said other factors haven’t been ruled out and the ATF team has arson and explosive experts at the Platinum Printing site.
Two brothers who own the print shop were injured in the blast along with two other men.
Dr. Kevin Foster, director of the Arizona Burn Center at Valleywise Health in Phoenix, said all four victims are expected to recover despite burns on up to 30% of their bodies.
Foster said the young men appeared to suffer second-degree "propane flash burns" to their arms, hands and legs and will need surgery and extended hospital stays.
Employees of businesses near Platinum Printing reeling after explosion
Dr. James Heaton dedicated his life and career to opening Smiles of Chandler. His dental practice is just a few doors down from the print shop that exploded last Friday.
"It was a very loud explosion. Very scary for everybody. The windows blew out, the ceiling tiles fell down, so it was very traumatic for everybody," he said.
Adding, "I had another doctor in the office working that day. I wasn’t working myself. Then eight other employees, so nine and we had five patients in the office."
All of them were able to get out unharmed.
His employees saw the owner of the eyeglass shop running from his store, saying that will be the hardest part for them to overcome.
"We’ve got to know him over the last five years and seeing him hurt so badly, it was tough, super tough for them to see. So they’ll need lots of therapy to work through the things they saw that day," Heaton said.
Smiles of Chandler could reopen as soon as next week.
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