Investigators seeking source of gas leak after inn explosion

Fire officials investigating a restaurant explosion that injured five people tried on Monday to pinpoint the source of the propane leak that caused the blast.

The explosion happened Saturday afternoon at the Spring Hill Inn in Mansfield, just over a mile from the University of Connecticut, as workers were preparing for a fundraiser for an area interfaith ministry.

All five victims were taken to hospitals with burn injuries and survived.

The explosion occurred "when propane gas accumulated in the kitchen and found an ignition source," town officials said in a statement Monday.

The cause was under investigation by the Mansfield Fire Marshal's Office, with help from the Connecticut State Police Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit.

Damage was limited to the kitchen and basement area of the inn, where people were preparing for a fundraiser for the Windham Area Interfaith Ministry, a volunteer group that helps the needy in 13 towns.

People inside the building said there was a faint gas odor before the explosion. Witnesses said there was a flash of light and a loud boom that shook the building.

Fire officials said it appeared lucky that more people were not hurt.

The ministry said in a Facebook posting that the victims suffered various degrees of burns.

"We expect them all to fully recover, though cannot imagine the trauma and pain they suffered from the explosion," the posting said. "Please, keep each of them in your prayers."

It also was unclear Monday what ignited the gas.

Mansfield officials said anyone who smells a gas leak should immediately leave the area and call 911.