GA Gas Blast an Accident

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 @ 03:06 PM gHale

A propane tank explosion that sent two Ferrell gas employees to the hospital suffering from burns was the result of human error, officials said.

The two men were unloading propane tanks at a facility on Highway 32 in Coffee County, GA, remain hospitalized at an Augusta burn center following the accidental explosion Monday, officials said.

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The employees were transferring propane from one truck to another when a leak occurred followed by the blast, State Fire Marshals said.

Residents from more than a mile away reported hearing the blast which officials say sent flames upwards of 40 feet. When firefighters arrived they found two trucks burning at the tank farm on Highway 32.

It took 45 minutes to put the truck fires out but a leak continued, which forced officials to shut down the highway for several hours. Tuesday morning crews removed the trucks from the scene.

While the two men remain hospitalized, a third employee injured in the blast went to the hospital and then released.

Fire investigators said propane blasts like this are rare and have only seen two such explosions in the past decade.

“Training really paid off,” said Douglas Fire Department Capt. Casey Wright. “They did an exceptional job firefighting. They were able to extinguish the fire, contain the fire, you know not within two or three minutes, but it was relatively quick.”

Because a propane leak continued, firefighters blocked off the highway and let the tank empty out on its own.

Coffee County Fire Chief Steve Carter said, “At this point, we have a small leak still on the delivery truck, and we’re diluting it down and going to allow it to bleed off until it’s empty.”

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