Chris Burton heard the terrifying noise just as the workday was getting started. Was it a bomb detonating? His reaction in the moment was understandably visceral.
“Jumped right out of my seat," Burton told WJW-TV in Cleveland.
"It was very loud and we knew something was wrong. We didn’t know what."
What sounded like an exploding bomb was actually an exploding propane tank, just outside his place of business in Mentor, Ohio, about 30 minutes north of Cleveland. The tank reportedly fell off a forklift making deliveries and was then crushed by the vehicle, causing the shocking explosion.
Somehow the forklift driver escaped almost unscathed, suffering only minor burns to his hands and face.
Officials told WJW that the driver was hauling machinery about 8:45 a.m. Thursday, turned into a driveway, and then a propane tank fell off the forklift, which then ran over the tank. First came the smoke, then a fiery explosion.
“It does not appear they were secured or tightened," Burton told WJW of the propane tanks reportedly aboard the forklift. "It didn’t look like they were, and it looked as if maybe one bounced off when he came into the driveway. He drove over it and it blew up."
The forklift driver, is in his 60s, was treated for burns to his face and hands at a medical facility and released a few hours later, WJW reported.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating along with fire and police officials, WJW said.
The following is surveillance video of the explosion:
Here's a report from WJW: