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NE State Fire Marshal: $900,000 in damages after an accidental explosion at Sapp Bros in West Point, NE

The cause of the explosions is unknown. The cause of the explosions is unknown.
Two people injured were both Sapp Bros. employees Two people injured were both Sapp Bros. employees
Courtesy: KTIC Radio/ Courtesy: KTIC Radio/
Courtesy: WOWT/ West Point, Nebraska skyline Courtesy: WOWT/ West Point, Nebraska skyline
Explosion rocks downtown West Point, Nebraska Explosion rocks downtown West Point, Nebraska

Investigators have determined what sparked an explosion and fire at a maintenance garage at 660 Main Street in West Point, Nebraska Wednesday.

The Nebraska State Fire Marshal said the incident at Sapp Bros Petroleum was determined to be an accident. 

They said a propane delivery truck was being serviced in a maintenance garage and it developed a propane leak. 

The propane vapors ignited and a vapor explosion and fire ensued. 

Preliminary damages to the building and its contents are estimated at $900,000. 

The explosion happened around 3:30pm Wednesday.

Seven people were brought the hospital with injuries, two of them had to be air-lifted to Omaha for further treatment.

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"The whole building shook," says witness Jennifer McTaggart. "The floor shook, walls, windows, everything shook. We didn't know if something hit or what had happened. I looked out our drive-through window to the west here, and that's when I saw the black smoke and the flames, and I knew something had exploded."

In this cell phone video, you can see what Jennifer McTaggart just described: heavy smoke and flames coming from Sapp Brothers Petroleum in West Point, Nebraska.

General Manager Tim Kaup says it started with one big boom, followed by several smaller ones.

"At this point, we really don't know what even caused it or what happened," says Kaup.

Authorities say Wednesday's explosion injured seven people. Out of that seven, two were critically hurt and airlifted to a hospital in Omaha.

"I did visit with both of the individuals before they left," says Kaup. "They both spoke to me. They both spoke to me and I'm hoping and praying that they're fine."

Witnesses say within minutes, the local fire department was at the scene, businesses evacuated and about an hour later, nearly all the smoke was gone from the area.

Authorities are currently investigating the cause of the fire.

The names and conditions of the injured employees are not being released at this time.


Seven people are injured after late afternoon explosion rocks the town of West Point, Nebraska.

The General Manager of Sapp Brothers Petroleum, Tim Kaup said around 4pm, there was a large explosion at the facility on South Main Street in West Point, Nebraska.

That was followed by a series of smaller explosions.

Witnesses said they could feel the it a couple of blocks away and saw large flames and heavy smoke right after the explosion.

At this point, company officials said they don't know what caused the explosions, but they are investigating.

A total of seven employees were injured in the explosion with two in critical condition. St. Francis Memorial Hospital officials said the two in critical condition were transferred by helicopter to a hospital in Omaha.

Firefighters are still on scene.

Immediately after the explosion, nearby businesses were reportedly evacuated but at this point they are all back in the area.


Two people were taken by helicopter to an area hospital after an explosion at Sapp Brothers on the south end of West Point, Nebraska.

Residents reported the explosion happened around 3:30pm Wednesday afternoon.

They said fire and rescue crews were on scene at 660 South Main Street.

Two people have suffered very bad burns and no word yet on if there were other injuries.

Viewers reported you can see a large plume of smoke from the West Point skyline.

The video above was shot by Craig Schmaderer earlier this afternoon.

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