Davie, FL Muffler Shop Explosion, Sep 1985



Davie, Fla. -- An explosion ripped through a muffler shop Tuesday, killing four people, injuring eight and rocking homes and businesses throughout the neighborhood, authorities said.
"It just stunned me. I didn't know what in the world happened. I thought we were being bombed." said Bill Howell, owner of a doughnut shop across the street from the gutted Midas Muffler & Brake Shop.
The bodies, removed about three hours after the 7:45 a.m. blast, were those of:
KEITH METZGER, 30, manager of shop, of Lauderdale Lakes.
MICHAEL TURK, 41, of Plantation.
WILLIAM BLOCKER, 23, of Miami.
One persons was listed in unstable condition at Memorial Hospital in Hollywood, and seven others were treated for minor injuries at three hospitals, officials said.
Cmdr. Steve Simon of the Broward County Emergency Medical Services said it was not certain where the eight injured people were at the time of the blast. He said they probably were driving by or entering or leaving the shop's parking lot.
The explosion left only an American flag intact outside the shop in this small community 30 miles northwest of Miami.
It damaged all 34 stores at the Davie Shopping Center across the street, blew out the windows of a nearby professional building, shattered windows of cars passing by during rush hour and rattled homes miles away.
The explosion may have been caused by a leak from a 250-gallon liquefied petroleum gas tank, said Fire Chief Michael Donati. Fumes apparently built up in the shop and "some kind of spark, like a cigarette, ignited it," he said.
Donati said two smaller explosions followed the first, but he did not know what caused them.
"It might have been a vehicle," he said. Two twisted, charred cars could be seen among the debris.
"We found four bodies in and around the rubble," of the muffler shop, said Davie Police Lt. Tim Hill.
"It looks like the shop was just getting ready to open."
"I felt the explosion at my house in Pembroke Pines, more than seven miles away," said Anthony Cramasta, an employee at the Town Plaza professional building. That building about 1,000 yards southwest of the muffler shop, had shattered windows and bent door frames.
One couple suffered cuts and bruises when part of the roof of their home fell on their bed as they slept, said Nancy Weinstein, spokeswoman at Pembroke Pines General Hospital, one of three hospitals that treated the injured.
"She couldn't figure out if a tornado had gone through or if we'd had an earthquake," Weinstein said.

Daily Herald Chicago Illinois 1985-09-25