(Blackstone-AP) -- Six firefighters were injured last night when
a backdraft caused an explosion in a building on fire in
Blackstone.
More than 150 firefighters from ten counties battled the blaze,
which destroyed Mitchell's restaurant and an adjacent building that
was occupied by a fitness center. It also knocked out phone lines
in the town.
Three of the injured firefighters were treated at a hospital and
released.
Officials say the fire started about 4:30 p-m in an alley behind
Mitchell's and destroyed the restaurant and a fitness center. The
explosion ocurred about 5:15 p-m, and the blaze burned out of
control until about eight o'clock.
Blackstone Fire Chief Mac Osborne, who was standing in front of
the restaurant and witnessed the explosion, says there was
"pandemonium" at first.
When state officials discovered communication was cut off, they
sent the director of public safety and representatives from
Emergency Services and the Virginia Department of Transportation to
the town.
V-DOT trucks blocked off a five-block area to keep traffic out
of downtown.