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Tex. Warehouse Holding Fireworks Explodes

July 4, 2003

KILGORE, Texas (AP) _ A warehouse of a company preparing for a Fourth of July fireworks show in this eastern Texas town exploded Thursday, destroying the building and damaging nearby businesses and homes.

Five people were hospitalized with minor injuries, such as cuts and scrapes. There were no immediate reports of deaths.

``It was a big, big explosion _ the noise was like when the shuttle came down. The building was shaking,″ said Justin Singh, owner a convenience store a half mile from the warehouse.

``It was bad, people were all running scared. This is a small town. This never happens here.″

The blast destroyed the offices of Lamb Entertainment near downtown Kilgore, a small town about 115 miles southeast of Dallas.

``It was a warehouse, a large metal building, where they assembled fireworks for their shows, and from what we understand there may not have been anyone in the building. It happened just after 5 p.m.,″ said Bill Woodall, publisher of the Kilgore News-Herald.

Marti Mason, an administrative assistant with the Kilgore Police Department, said police evacuated an area around the explosion covering several blocks.

``There was a hell of a boom that I wondered if somebody ran into the side of the building. The floors shook and everything,″ said Jay Pemberton, who works at KTPB radio in Kilgore. ``The walls, everything. It just vibrated the heck out of everything.″

The blast came a day after a truck loaded with fireworks exploded into flames in a Florida town on the Gulf Coast, killing five people and injuring one.

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