WV Plant Blast Kills 2, Injures 1

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 @ 02:05 PM gHale


An explosion at a West Virginia industrial facility left two people dead and one more injured and in critical condition.

The May 24 explosion was at Midland Resource Recovery (MRR), a company based in Ontario, Canada, that odorizes natural gas, officials said.

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The victims are MRR President Jan Strmen, 72, of Canada, and employee Justin Marsh, 19, of Philippi, WV. Rex Bennett, the injured worker, remains in critical condition at the hospital.

Just after 11 a.m. on May 24, an explosion at MRR’s tank decommission site on Rt. 119 in Barbour County killed two and injured a third person, officials said. The three were decommissioning an odorant tank when the explosion occurred. It remains unknown whether the tank exploded from the inside or the outside.

The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration said Strmen and Marsh were using bleach and preparing a tank for cleaning at the facility outside Philippi when it exploded.

Another employee was hospitalized with serious injuries.

The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, which examines the root causes of chemical incidents is beginning an investigation into the incident.

Board spokeswoman Hillary Cohen said a team was headed to the Midland Resource Recovery facility. According to information from OSHA, the plant cleans and decommissions old odorant tanks from gas companies.

The company has declined to comment.



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