One Hurt after TN Energy Co. Blast

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 @ 06:11 PM gHale

One worker suffered serious injuries after an explosion ripped through a Shelbyville, TN, facility Monday morning.

Shelbyville Police Chief Austin Swing said there were reports that some oil tanks at Southern Energy Co. on Lane Parkway exploded and caught fire around 10:30 a.m.

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Rescue personnel took the injured victim by LifeFlight to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville with burns to 50 percent of his body. His identity was not immediately available.

The state fire marshal was on the scene Tuesday working to determine the cause of the fire.

As a precaution, all businesses and homes within a half-mile radius ended up evacuated due to the risk of more explosions, Swing said. There were no other flare-ups beside a small rekindling.

Swing said the building is next door to the Bedford County workhouse where jail inmates approved for work release live.

Tennessee Emergency Management Agency spokesman Jeremy Heidt said most of the trusties at the workhouse were out on work detail when the fire occurred. Animal control workers from neighboring Rutherford County came in to help evacuate the Bedford County animal shelter. Heidt said smoke affected both facilities, but no fire.

Thomas Magnet School students ended up bused to Harris Middle School because of the explosions.

The fire department raised the flood gates to the Duck River to prevent oil-contaminated water from going into the river.

Southern Energy owner Gary King said the facility had recently switched to producing and distributing biofuels.

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