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Leaky propane tank caused explosion at Rock Island antique shop, fire marshal says

ROCK ISLAND-- Vintage Rose antique shop owner Michelle Jeuring was speaking with a customer when suddenly a bright flash of orange swept through her store. It was an explosion.

Moments later shards of glass from the windows and brick rubble covered the street.

"There was a guy holding his head because he was bleeding and then the lady called out call 911, so I called 911," said witness Amber Hardin, who manages the Happy Joe's across the street from the shop.

She and her employees were prepping food for the day when they heard an explosion.

"We came out here, we thought it was an accident or something," said Hardin.

Rock Island Fire Marshal Greg Marty said the explosion that happened on Monday, March 6 was caused by a leaky propane tank.

"Actually it was a very serious explosion. The explosion displaced two of the exterior walls... actually pushed the walls out," Marty said.

A shop employee was using the tank to ignite a small torch used to repair jewelry.

"It was just a 20 pound cylinder which is identical to what you would see on any household grill," he added.

The propane tank was leaking gas and spread through the shop. Within a matter of minutes the gas reacted to the flame on the small torch causing the explosion.

Marty says they are releasing surveillance video to show the dangers of using propane indoors and the importance of proper ventilation.

"You want to make sure that the air is exchanging very rapidly. So that if there is a leak the gas is collected and ventilated outside of the building so that we don't have an explosion like this."

One customer and two employees, including the owner, were inside at the time but made it out with minor injuries.

The Rock Island Fire Marshal estimated around $150,000 dollars in structural damage.