For the second time in four weeks, there has been a fatal explosion at Midland Resources Recovery in Barbour County, West Virginia. A 47-year-old man, who was an employee of Specialized Professional Services Inc., was killed in the June 20 blast while he was working to render the tanks involved in the first explosion safe. He was from Washington, Pa. A woman was injured in the 10 a.m. blast. She was treated and released from a nearby hospital.
Investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said they believe there are other tanks at the scene that may be unstable. They have not yet identified the chemical or chemicals in the tank.
Located on Barbour County Highway in Moatsville, WV, Midland provides gas odorization products and services. Odorization is the process of adding a foul-smelling chemical, such as mercaptan, to natural gas and liquid propane which are odorless.
3 Midland Resources Employees Injured, 2 Fatally
On May 24, three Midland employees were working to decommission a tank when it exploded. Company President Jan Strmen, 72, of Canada, and Justin Marsh, 19, of Philippi, West Virginia, died in the blast which occurred just after 11 a.m. The third man, whose name was not released, was rushed to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown with serious injuries.
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) issued the following statement about the June 22 explosion:
“This morning, an explosion fatally injured one worker at the Midland Resources Recovery facility in Barbour County, WV. The explosion occurred at the same facility where a May 24 explosion killed two workers and seriously injured another.
At the time of today’s explosion, two CSB investigators were onsite conducting investigative work directly related to their examination of the May 24 explosion. They were not physically injured.
The explosion occurred when a Midland Resources contractor was working to de-inventory or empty several tanks – the same type of tanks involved in the May 24 fatal explosion.
The CSB has been informed that Midland Resources has suspended operations at the site.”