An official with the supplier of propane to the Ghent store leveled Tuesday by a deadly explosion said Thursday “everything is still speculative” regarding what actually caused the blast that killed four people and seriously injured five others.

“We are totally cooperating and working with authorities to find out what exactly happened, but at this point everything is still speculative,” said Gary Nouse, a spokesman for Thompson Gas and Electric Inc.

Nouse was in Ghent Thursday. He spoke to The Register-Herald prior to state officials announcing they were ending their investigation.

“We are so devastated by this incident,” he said. “There are still lots of tears flowing at this point.”

Initial reports from the investigation indicated a leaky propane tank caused the explosion at the Little General Store. The propane tank may have had problems a couple of days earlier, the state fire marshal said Wednesday.

Nouse, however, would not confirm or deny if Jeffrey Lee Treadway and Glenn Ray Bennett, who were killed in the explosion, were contract employees of Thompson Gas working on the tank.

“We plan to release an official statement, possibly as soon as (today),” he said.

State Fire Marshal Sterling Lewis told reporters Wednesday that “evidently there was a problem a couple days prior to the incident because there were maintenance people working on the scene.”

Greg Darby, president of Little General, said he had no knowledge of any maintenance problem and that it was his understanding the store was switching its propane tank to another tank from a new supplier, which was Thompson Gas.

The Little General had two 500-gallon propane tanks. They were only used for operating the pizza oven at Godfather’s, located inside the store, Little General said.

Little General confirmed Wednesday night that Thompson owned the tank and its representatives were working on it Tuesday. Also, about four other Little General stores with Godfather’s Pizza outlets were switching to Thompson-owned tanks, according to Darby. He said the propane tanks at the other Little General stores would be inspected.

Thompson Gas and Electric has headquarters in Maryland and has been in business 59 years.

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