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ATF: Chandler print shop explosion accidental, not criminal

August 31, 2021 GMT

CHANDLER, Ariz. (AP) — An accidental gas leak led to last week’s explosion at a Chandler strip mall print shop that left four men with serious burns, federal authorities said Tuesday.

Gabriel Pinon, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said in a statement Tuesday that “the findings by the ATF National Response Team and investigative partners determined that the explosion was caused by an unintentional natural gas leak ignited by an independent ignition source.”

Investigators still have not determined what that ignition source was, however.

Officials with Southwest Gas said in a statement Tuesday that the company “is committed to determine the facts behind the unintentional natural gas leak which investigators have cited as a contributing factor to this incident. We are also committed to immediately implementing any operational enhancements resulting from the investigation.”

Multiple agencies including the ATF, the Chandler police and fire departments and Southwest Gas probed the explosion scene to determine the cause.

Police said no foul play was found after “a fuel-air mixture explosion” occurred at the Platinum Printing building around 9:30 a.m. last Thursday.

Four men suffered second-degree burns to their hands, arms and legs, including two brothers who own the print shop — 29-year-old Dillion Ryan and 39-year-old Andrew Ryan.

Police said 29-year-old Parker Milldebrandt was inside the print shop at the time of the explosion and also was injured along with 58-year-old Glenn Jordan, who was inside the Eyeglass Repair business to the west of the print shop.

Dr. Kevin Foster, director of the Arizona Burn Center at Valleywise Health in Phoenix, said all four victims will need surgery and extended hospital stays but are expected to recover despite burns on up to 30% of their bodies.