Three people were injured in a gas explosion at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport this morning. One of the workers sustained serious injuries and was airlifted to an area trauma center.
The men were private contractors who were transferring compressed natural gas south of the air traffic control tower. Airport operations were not affected.
People who were at and near the airport said the explosion made a huge sound. One person said it was so loud he thought it was the sonic boom of a jet. First responders said they found debris 100 yards away from the explosion site. Some of the pieces appeared to be from the equipment that was being used in the gas transfer, they said.
3 people injured w/ 1 seriously injured as rslt of explosion south of air traffic control tower; occurred during transfer of CNG (compressed natural gas). Occurred away from runway. @gatewayairport w/ @GilbertFireDept & @MesaPD pic.twitter.com/iRYx0WtSK1
— Mesa (Arizona) Fire & Medical Dept (@MesaFireDept) February 7, 2018
Two of the people who were injured in the gas explosion were treated at the scene. A third worker, who was seriously injured, underwent surgery after being airflifted to an area trauma center. Explosions can cause a wide range of injuries all of which can be life-threatening. They include thermal burns, smoke inhalation, crush injuries, lacerations, traumatic brain injury and pressure injuries that can damage the the heart, lungs, liver, eyes and ears.
“Shrapnel or flying debris can also cause serious explosion injuries,” said Fred Pritzker, a explosion attorney who represents clients who are injured in explosions. “These penetrating trauma injuries can damage vital organs causing life-threatening injuries.”
An investigation into the cause of the explosion is underway. A team from the U.S.Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) arrived on the scene earlier today to work with state and local authorities.