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Worker missing, one injured in blaze fanned by high winds

March 19, 1997

AMARILLO, Texas (AP) _ High winds fanned a fire that burned through an industrial supplies plant and other businesses, triggering an explosion and causing millions of dollars in damage.

At least one worker was injured in the Tuesday blaze and another, a 43-year-old man, was missing and believed dead.

``We are 99.9 percent sure he is still inside there,″ Potter County Justice of the Peace Terry Miller said. ``But as far as being able to get inside and get to a body, we can’t. We will have to make sure the building is structurally sound first.″

Flames bellowed out of the one-story warehouse that houses Johnson Filtration Products. Johnson employs about 26 people, including the missing worker.

``I looked outside and saw some smoke that was blacker than usual,″ said Dusty Frederick, who works at Pan Am Distributing, a repair and electrical shop next door. ``By the time I got outside is about when the explosion happened.″

The blast blew out a wall at Johnson and spread the fire to Pan Am, which lost $2 million in inventory, mostly shingles, Frederick said.

The injured worker was treated and released at a local hospital.

Update hourly