Four people were injured, including one who was knocked unconscious, during an accidental propane gas explosion during the annual Lobster Festival at Schooners restaurant on Sunday.
PANAMA CITY BEACH — Five people were injured, including one who was knocked unconscious, after an accidental propane explosion at Schooners restaurant on Sunday.
According to a Bay County Sheriff’s Office report, four of the five victims were taken to hospitals for emergency care after the incident, which happened during the restaurant’s annual Lobster Festival late Sunday morning because of a faulty propane tank valve. Details of the victims’ conditions on Tuesday were unavailable.
The report states that when deputies arrived at the scene, they discovered a 61-year-old woman from Lake Ozark, Missouri, unconscious and face down in the sand. Several bystanders were holding towels to shield her from the sun.
The report states that the woman had burns on her face and her hair was singed. She was taken by ambulance to Bay Medical Center for treatment.
Nearby, deputies found a 57-year-old woman from Westville, Florida who had burns to her face and arms, and had singed hair. She was taken to Bay Medical ER by the beach for treatment.
The other three victims, a 70-year-old male from Lynn Haven, a 23-year-old woman from Panama City and an unidentified man, all had singed hair and minor burns to their left arms. The woman was taken to Bay Medical ER, while the Lynn Haven man was taken to Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center by request. The unidentified man said he’d treat himself at home and left before deputies could get his information, the report states.
Employees of Schooners found a faulty propane tank that apparently caused the incident, the report states. The tank had a faulty relief valve that released propane into the air, sending a stream of gas toward the food table. The pans of food were being kept warm with Sterno heaters when the propane was released.
The Sterno heaters ignited the gas, which caused the explosion that injured the victims, the report states. Witnesses reported hearing a loud explosion and seeing a ball of fire.
The restaurant employees removed the propane tank and took it to a safe location away from the beach, the report states.