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The Latest: Leaking gas blamed for coffee shop explosion

August 18, 2018
This photo provided by the Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner’s Office shows a destroyed coffee shop after an explosion and fire in Homerville, Ga., Friday, Aug. 17, 2018. The explosion and fire destroyed the coffee shop Friday in this rural south Georgia city, injuring a few workers and prompting a warning from city officials for residents to avoid the downtown area. (Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner’s Office via AP)
This photo provided by the Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner’s Office shows a destroyed coffee shop after an explosion and fire in Homerville, Ga., Friday, Aug. 17, 2018. The explosion and fire destroyed the coffee shop Friday in this rural south Georgia city, injuring a few workers and prompting a warning from city officials for residents to avoid the downtown area. (Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner’s Office via AP)

HOMERVILLE, Ga. (AP) — The Latest on an explosion at a Georgia coffee shop that injured three people (all times local):

11:30 p.m.

Authorities say natural gas leaking into a sewer line caused an explosion that destroyed a coffee shop in rural Georgia and seriously injured three people.

Glenn Allen, a spokesman for Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, said late Friday that investigators determined a construction crew installing fiber optic cable in the tiny city of Homerville punctured an underground natural gas line.

Allen says that gas leaked into a sewer line connected to the coffee shop, where the gas built up and was ignited by a spark shortly after noon Friday.

Allen says two employees and a customer suffered serious injuries, including burns. Investigators initially reported all three injured people were coffee shop employees.

The injured people were airlifted to a hospital in Gainesville, Florida.

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4:40 p.m.

Authorities say an explosion destroyed a coffee shop and injured three workers in a rural south Georgia city.

Glenn Allen, a spokesman for Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, said investigators do not suspect foul play in the blast that rocked the tiny city of Homerville at about 12:15 p.m. Friday. Allen said investigators are looking at whether a construction crew digging in the area might have triggered a natural gas explosion.

Allen says: “The building is destroyed.” Only three employees were inside. Allen said they were airlifted to a hospital in Gainesville, Florida. Their conditions were not immediately known.

On the city’s Facebook page, Homerville officials asked residents to avoid the downtown area.

Homerville has about 2,500 residents living roughly 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the Georgia-Florida line.

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