Explosion blasts man through wall at vodka distillery

Fire officials: May have been caused by ethanol or propane leak

SAN ANTONIO – An explosion blasted a man through a wall at an East Bexar County vodka distillery Friday morning.

It happened around 8:15 a.m. in the 8500 block of Cover Road, near New Sulphur Springs Road and Calaveras Lake.

A man who lives near the distillery said the blast jolted him out of bed.

"We heard a loud boom and got up and looked out the back window and couldn't see anything," Gerald Graham said. "And then about that time the gentleman that owns the property came knocking on my door telling me to get out because there was an explosion down at the distillery."

One worker was inside the distillery. The explosion sent him flying through a wall and sparked a small fire. It took Bexar County firefighters about 40 minutes to put out the flames.

The worker was checked out by emergency crews at the scene and did not have to be taken to a hospital. Firefighters say he was conscious and speaking when they arrived.

Some people who live nearby reported a strong smell near the distillery around the time of the explosion.

"I didn't really smell anything. Some other people said that they did," Graham said.

Distillery officials and fire investigators said they planned to review surveillance footage to determine exactly what caused the blast.

"They're initially thinking that there was just some sort of small spark and that either there was a leak from an ethanol or a propane tank that caused the explosion," said Laura Jesse, Bexar County Fire Department spokesperson.

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