PHILIPPI, W.Va. (AP) - The lead federal investigator examining the explosion that killed two men at a West Virginia industrial plant May 24 says they’re still testing and gathering evidence to determine what caused the approximately 100-gallon tank to blow apart.
Mark Wingard with the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board says Friday that one possible scenario is some type for chemical reaction that caused an increase in pressure, heat or both.
Midland Resource Recovery outside Philippi was decommissioning the carbon steel tank that contained residual mercaptan, a chemical that gives a strong odor to natural gas to help identify leaks, when it exploded into pieces.
The federal office of Occupational Safety and Health Administration said owner Jan Strmen and employee Justin Marsh were killed decommissioning the tank. Another worker was seriously injured.
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