Explosions erupt at welding company in downtown Phoenix

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- A fire in the back of a Phoenix welding yard caused tanks of flammable gas to explode and go flying into the air Thursday evening, frightening many passersby during rush hour.

It started just after 4pm at the Phoenix Welding Supply Company near 7th street and Buckeye.

Amateur video captured huge plumes of black smoke erupting above the business as the tanks exploded.

"It was like a big bomb going off over and over and over again, it was crazy," said Jordon Kimbrough, who works at Road Machinery, across the street from the welding company.

"It was like a missile," Richard Maudsley said of a tank that landed outside his business.

Some of the ignited tanks flew as far as 400 feet away from the welding yard, according to witnesses.

No one was injured and firefighters were able to contain the fire so it did not spread to a neighboring warehouse where thousands of other gas-filled tanks were stored.

"We would have had a huge problem if it had spread," said Phoenix Fire Captain Jorge Enriquez.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.