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Chandler print shop explosion: one day later

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Posted at 3:50 PM, Aug 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-28 00:04:13-04

CHANDLER, AZ — The print shop explosion has left destruction and trauma behind in Chandler.

More than 24 hours later, people are still trying to make sense of it, and Luraine Lutes is one of them.

Lutes works at Smiles of Chandler, a business just three doors down from Platinum Printing, where the blast originated from.

“I couldn't sleep last night,” Lutes told ABC15.

Lutes says she was working inside Smiles of Chandler when she heard the explosion.

Her first thought was to cover her head.

When the shaking stopped, “I heard someone screaming outside,” she said, trying to hold back tears.

So she ran out, only to see a man rolling on the ground.

“It was Glenn, from the eyeglass place. He was hurt really bad and it was very hard to see him hurt so bad,” added Lutes.

She immediately called 911 and says, pretty soon, Glenn was taken inside an ambulance.

Platinum Printing co-owners Dillon and Andrew Ryan, and their employee Parker Milldebrandt, were also injured and taken to the hospital.

All four were admitted into the Maricopa Medical Center Burn Unit.

“It was... uh... a very surreal experience,” she said.

It was an explosion that left Smiles of Chandler with busted windows, and no roof in two patient rooms.

When Lutes finally took a breath, this is what she noticed:

“It was very dusty. There was an odd smell. It smelled like plastic burning,” she told ABC15.

Now, she’s just thankful to be alive.

“Once you see that sight, and recognize that we were all okay. That was an incredible blessing... just ask for some prayers for those injured and their families,” Lutes said in tears.

The ATF’s National Response Team is set to start investigating the blast Saturday morning.

This will be the 12th time this year the team has been called out.

For now, Smiles of Chandler is looking into getting a temporary location up and running soon, so they can continue serving their patients.

According to Ryan's family attorney, Tom Ryan, there were no volatile chemicals in Platinum Printing. He said everything runs on electricity, and there are no gas-powered machines or appliances in the shop. Chandler Fire Department confirmed Thursday that there were no dangerous chemicals, other than a gas leak underneath the shop that was soon sealed.

Ryan said all three victims who were inside the shop are young dads. Dillion and Andrew Ryan both have young children. Their lifelong friend, Milldebrandt, is expecting he and his wife's first child, a baby girl, in early September.

"The hardest part about this is these are three young families," said Tom Ryan. "They’re very worried about how they’re going to keep a roof over their head and food on the table."

Two GoFundMe pages have been created for the Ryan Brothers and Milldebrandt to help with medical expenses.

"Three decent guys, I’ve known them, it’s very hard to see that, it’s very hard to see how that impacted them, and to keep them in our prayers," said Ryan. "As bad as it is, it could have been so much worse. There had to be divine assistance getting those three guys out of there."