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Several hurt in fire at gas station near AK park

A fire raged through a gas station convenience store near Alaska's Denali National Park Sunday night and injured several people, including three who were hospitalized, authorities said.

Crews suspect an explosion near a checkout counter inside the store possibly touched off the fire in Cantwell, said Alaska State Trooper Sgt. Mike Roberts.

"The fire has fully engulfed the structure," Roberts told The Associated Press. He said that by late at night it appeared to be diminishing.

The area around the station was cordoned off as a precaution against a gasoline or propane explosion.

"Basically, they're sealing off the area, not letting anyone in, making sure it's clear of people," he said.

Firefighters believed the danger to the station's fuel tanks had likely passed, but were concerned about a propane tank located behind the building and were working to protect it from the flames, Roberts said.

Several people were treated on the scene for minor burns, but two people were hospitalized with burns and another with head and back injuries from the initial blast, Roberts said.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported that high winds caused problems for the firefighters, who came from three area departments.

Roberts said the scene was still too convulsed to make an exact determination if the suspected blast was the cause. He said investigators would be on the scene through the night and state fire marshals would respond in the morning.

Cantwell is located just outside the eastern boundary of Denali National Park and about 175 miles north of Anchorage.

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