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‘Man of Steel’ filming is one tightly closed set

Smoke rises from streets  Plano Monday as filming for upcoming Superman movie gets under way. Downtown streets were closed

Smoke rises from the streets of Plano on Monday as filming for the upcoming Superman movie gets under way. Downtown streets were closed off with tall fences to keep onlookers from getting a glimpse of the action. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 16, 2011 1:55AM

‘SMALLVILLE’ — A 7-11 convenience store at Center Avenue and Main Street downtown blew up Monday morning, according to reports.

The explosion took place about 9:30 a.m. and was followed by several other explosions between 10 and 10:30 a.m., other reports said.

Gary Goldman, owner of Goldy’s Hot Dogs, had his stand set up at North and Hale streets several blocks away, and he reported hearing the explosions. While there still is no official word about what happened, Goldman said something curious that might lead one to think the explosions were connected to something other than a crime or accident.

“I saw a helicopter hovering just over there,” he said, pointing to the sky roughly over Main and Hale. “I could see the camera attached, right out in front. It started moving slowly west, and then I heard the boom.”

The mysterious helicopter was one of several seen hovering over Smallville throughout the day, lending more credence to the belief the explosions were no accident. (No officials would comment on the whereabouts of occasional resident Clark Kent.)

“They told us to expect a lot of explosions today,” said Goldman, who sets his hot dog stand up every day in Lathrop Park at North and Hale. “They told us to expect a lot of noise.”

A security cordon of chain link fence was thrown up around about a two-block area of Main Street, in the area where the Smallville Sears and Smallville Land Surveyors are, as well as the Smallville Hotel. The fence had black Visqueen around it, so not only could onlookers and press not get inside the area, they could not see inside it, either.

Goldman’s stand was just outside the fenced-off area, and he said whatever was happening had been a boon to his business. Cars were detoured around Main Street right past his stand on North.

“It’s been a steady stream,” he said. “I’ve been setting up here for three years, and it’s good, but business is up, no doubt.”

Business also is up at the Casey’s at Center Avenue and North Street, right next to where the security cordon was set up and near where the reported explosion occurred. Alex Schutt, of Sandwich, who works at Casey’s, did not mention the explosions. But she said with all the cars and people routed by the small downtown gas station and store, “business is booming.”

“I can’t do anything because I’m busy,” she said.

At that same intersection, local high school sophomores Monique Romero and Irene Guzman were disappointed to see the security set up. They got out early from the first day of school and walked downtown.

“We came down here to eat, but it’s closed off,” Romero said. “We were gonna be happy to get in and sit down out of the sun.”

One unexplained sight right behind Romero and Guzman was what appeared to be an entrance to the other side of wall, with a tent over it. Only security and people wearing badges were allowed through.

No one could say if Monday’s shocking events were tied at all to unusual happenings throughout Smallville the past several weeks, which includes an incredible construction boom along Main Street, where almost every building has been given a new façade.

Another one has been the so-called celebrity sightings throughout the area, such people as Amy Adams, Henry Cavill, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane and Russell Crowe. Just Monday morning, Goldman swore he saw Cavill and Lane at the United Methodist Church of Plano. He also swore the rumor is true that Costner several weeks ago knocked on the door of a house near Centennial School, and asked if he and several others could use the picnic table there.

“A kid was there and he had to call his mother at work to ask for permission,” Goldman said. “Of course she couldn’t get home fast enough.”

Judy Cork has seen no celebrities. But just to make sure she didn’t miss anything, she was sitting in a lawn chair in the parking lot of her apartment building across from the Methodist Church, with her camera.

Had she heard the explosion?

“Oh yeah,” she said.

Meanwhile, in other news, in the non-fictional town of Plano, much of the town was closed Monday morning for the filming for the motion picture “Man of Steel” and is expected to be closed for the rest of the week. Officials there would not comment on whether they expect anyone in blue tights will leap tall buildings this week.

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