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Explosion Blows Boiler Through Wall at Lakeland Facility

Explosion Blows Boiler Through Wall at Lakeland Facility

Lakeland Fire Rescue and Lakeland police responded to an explosion at
the Whitlock Packaging Corporation at the former Juice Bowl plant on
Bartow Road in Lakeland Tuesday morning. A 4,017-gallon boiler ,one of
three used in production of juice and beverage products exploded
projecting it through a wall and onto the railroad tracks next to the
plant. Crews were on site to turn off the natural gas to the two
remaining tanks to let them cool off to be assessed.

An explosion resulting
from a buildup of natural gas blew a 4,000-gallon boiler through a wall
and onto railroad tracks at Whitlock Packaging Corporation in Lakeland
this morning.

Whitlock is located at the former Juice Bowl on U.S. 98 South.

No one was injured in the blast, which occurred before 8 a.m., Kevin Cook, a spokesman for the city of Lakeland, said.

other boilers are inside the building and one appears to have structure
damage, Cook said. Emergency officials are waiting for the boilers to
cool before entering the building to assess damage. It could take up to
two hours before the boilers are cool enough, officials said.

All employees have been evacuated.

Lakeland firefighters, police and ambulance personnel are on the scene.

railroad has been contacted to bring a crane to remove the boiler and
assess damage to the railroad tracks, which are adjacent to the
building, Cook said. TECO employees have turned off the gas supply off.

gas is used to heat the boiler, which was half full at the time of the
explosion, Cook said. The boiler weights 60,000 pounds empty


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