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Police investigate explosion at Tampa bar | News

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Police investigate explosion at Tampa bar

TAMPA, Florida -- Throughout the day, customers have filtered into Radio Bar and Grill near Busch Gardens, hoping to help the local business that was hit by what Tampa Police call "a homemade crude device" that caused extensive interior damage. 

Customer Wilson Cedeno Rodriguez tells us he was in the bar's restroom around 10:30 on Wednesday night when the explosion shook him right in front of the bathroom doors. He went to the hospital with head and chest pain. The two employees also in the bar at the time were not injured.

Radio Bar features live music and studio-to-broadcast shows for 102.1 The Party Pirate. Robert Hoffa let his country radio show run longer than usual on Wednesday. Just minutes after he left the studio, the blast shattered glass and broke computers right where he would have been sitting.

"I still can't believe it. I'm devastated. I feel like I'm in shock," he said. "One of our bar staff was actually coming out of the DJ booth and she got lifted off her feet and thrown about three feet across the floor."

Employees say it sounded like a semi slammed into the building. They're not sure who would have thrown an explosive into their bar or why. At this point, Tampa Police detectives don't know either, though they believe the bar was specifically targeted.

"It's just devastating to me. We love everyone to death. Our saying is, 'You come here once, you're a patron. You come here twice, you're family,'" Hoffa said. "We want this to be our Cheers in Tampa."

The bar didn't have insurance, but they want to reopen as soon as possible. With the help of customers and the community, they hope to be ready by the morning of July 21, when they're hosting a fundraiser to benefit a woman with Stage 3 breast cancer.

Earlier Report:

Tampa police are investigating what is being called an "unexplained explosion" at the Radio Bar and Grill on E. Busch Blvd.

The Tampa Police Department says it received a call Wednesday night that "someone set off a bomb in the bar."

Once officers arrived, they reportedly found some type of device or unknown object "went off" inside the bar. The surrounding area has been evacuated until an explosives and ordinance team can inspect it.

The bar was occupied at the time, but no serious injuries have been reported. One person was taken to the hospital after complaining of chest pains.

The inside of the bar sustained damage, but the extent of that damage is unknown at this time.

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