• Explosion rocks animatronics business known for Chuck E. Cheese characters


    ORLANDO, Fla. - A business that specializes in the making of animatronics was rocked by an explosion in downtown Orlando late Thursday morning.

    Officials said the explosion happened at the Creative Engineering Inc. building near the intersection of Robinson Street and State Lane.

    Channel 9 learned the building owner is the creator of animatronic characters that performed in places like Showbiz Pizza and Chuck E. Cheese since 1975.

    The explosion happened when a cylinder used to make those characters failed, causing experimental cooking oil to explode, authorities said.

    The blast caused two trains, one heading south to Miami and one heading north to New York, to stop on the tracks near the business.

    Multiple viewers called the Channel 9 newsroom reported they felt the blast in their nearby homes and businesses.

    "We were in the office having a conference meeting right across from the explosion. We were just sitting there and heard a big boom. It was more intense than a thunderstorm," said witness Zachary Bartholomew.

    "Cops told us to close the door, make sure we weren't exposed to any of the gasses," said witness Miguel Senior.

    Officials said the building was empty at the time of the explosion, and no injuries were reported.

    Parts of Robinson Street were shut down through the lunch hour as a result of the blast.

    The Fire Department kept the surrounding businesses evacuated for hours while they safely released the other cylinders to make sure they didn't have similar explosions.

    The Fire Department's arson investigators said the owner is cooperating with them.

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    Explosion rocks animatronics business known for Chuck E. Cheese characters