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Explosion at Cantwell gas station injures 5

Posted: December 5, 2011 - 12:40pm

FAIRBANKS — Investigators are trying to determine what caused an explosion and fire that injured five people at a gas station near Denali National Park in Alaska.

Three people were taken to hospitals with burns and injuries from the blast Sunday evening, and two others had minor injuries.

The Chevron station and store were fully engulfed in flames when firefighters responded about 6 p.m. Sunday.

The area around the station was cordoned off as a precaution against a gasoline or propane explosion.

“Basically, they’re sealing off the area, not letting anyone in, making sure it’s clear of people,” state trooper Sgt. Mike Roberts said.

High winds caused problems for the firefighters, but they were able to keep the flames away from the gasoline tanks and the propane tank, and by 10 p.m. the blaze had greatly diminished, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

Beth Ipsen, a spokeswoman for the Alaska State Troopers, said the identities of those injured were expected to be released Monday.

Cantwell is located just outside the eastern boundary of Denali National Park and about 175 miles north of Anchorage.

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