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2 Burned in Tank Lining Blast

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

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Two workers were seriously burned this week when an underground gasoline storage tank erupted in a flash fire as they were lining it, authorities say.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the blaze that ignited about 1 p.m. Monday (Sept. 9) at a Mobil station in Manchester, NH.

Mobil gas flash fire

Firefighters gather information on two employees of Missouri-based Tank Tech, which was lining the empty, 10,000-gallon gasoline storage tank.

Two employees of Missouri-based Tank Tech Inc. were seriously injured and flown to Boston hospitals. The men, both from South Carolina, were reported as ages 24 and 33, but their names were not released.

Founded in 1985, Tank Tech provides coating, lining, repair and inspection services.

Company spokesman Jonathan McNeely said in an email Tuesday (Sept. 10) that the technicians were in stable condition but that the company would not release any details in order to protect their privacy. He said the company was "fully cooperating with officials to determine the actual cause of this accident."

A check of OSHA records showed no citations for Tank Tech in the past five years.

Fiberglass and Chemicals

Firefighters told local reporters that the workers had been lining an empty storage tank eight feet underground with fiberglass and chemicals when the blast occurred. The tank, 24 feet across, can hold up to 10,000 gallons of gasoline but was empty for cleaning, officials said.

Mobil gas flash fire

One worker was able to escape from the tank eight feet underground after the flash fire. Firefighters rescued the other. Both suffered serious burns, a witness said.

“There is a report that there was a light that had been dropped and broken inside of the tank,” Manchester Fire Chief James Burkush told WBZ-TV. “So we’re going to try and verify that.”

After the blast, one worker crawled out of the tank; the other had to be rescued.

John Brewer, a business owner across the street who ran to help with the rescue, described both victims as severely burned—one, from the waist down; and one from "head to toe."


Tagged categories: Confined space; Explosions; Fire; Health and safety; Linings; Oil and Gas; Painting Contractor; Tanks and vessels

Comment from Billy Russell, (9/11/2013, 3:51 AM)

Prayers for my Brothers and their families

Comment from Billy Russell, (9/11/2013, 3:58 AM)

One worker was able to escape from the Tank??? where was the hole watch?? where is the ventilation Did they have a closed confinement permit, or even a procedure in place Does Tank Tech have a rescue apparatus on that Trailer, there are a lot of things wrong in that Bottom picture.......

Comment from HECTOR MEDINA, (9/11/2013, 8:53 AM)

explosion proof lights? A Lining with fiberglass involve a lot of solvents expelled

Comment from Luis Hernandez, (9/11/2013, 8:13 PM)

Why solvent-free materials were not being used?

Comment from Billy Russell, (9/12/2013, 5:28 AM)

I would like to hear from Tank Tech, as to why they were not using explosion proof lights, where was the hole watch, and closed confinement permit, why did the Man across the street have to run and help my brother out of this Tank, WHO is in charge of safety in your company and what kind of credentials does he have ( tear them up ) My Brother is burnt from head to toe and I am Furious.

Comment from Carmelo laboy, (9/12/2013, 7:06 AM)

No signs of any equipment related to mechanical ventilation was been used.

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (9/12/2013, 10:38 AM)

Shouldn't they also be air monitoring to stay below 10% of the LEL?

Comment from peter gibson, (9/12/2013, 4:17 PM)

Billy You have a lot of brothers... I must say !

Comment from Billy Russell, (9/13/2013, 4:13 AM)

Brothers in this industry, Tank guys we Take care of each other we watch each others Back up in the air as well as down in the hole we are our Brothers Keeper Mr. Gibson , Tom most tanks are checked at the beginning of the shift prior to anyone entering, the correct size exhaust fan for that size tank would have kept the fumes to a minimum.

Comment from Mike McCloud, (9/13/2013, 7:20 AM)

Ventilate, ventilate, ventilate...

Comment from Warren Brand, (9/13/2013, 10:55 AM)

I've personally lined hundreds of USTs - and I know the folks at Tank Tech very well. They run a very tight ship and care deeply about their people. There was a friend of ours up here in Milwaukee years ago that had a similar accident - and it had nothing to do with the lining process. There was an adjacent tank which was being filled with gas that was the culprit. Perhaps it's best to keep good thoughts for a prompt and full recovery for the injured men and table the second guessing?

Comment from HECTOR MEDINA, (9/15/2013, 8:11 PM)

dear warren, the LEL meassure prevent this kind of accidents, this is not justify in any point even if adjacent tank have a leak.

Comment from Billy Russell, (9/16/2013, 4:44 AM)

Warren, you are entitled to your opinion, however the picture on the bottom and the information tell a different story, NO ventilation, No hole watch , No explosion proof light , The equipment Trailer in the photo is not one from a tight ship..... I have seen many of these UST job sites and often left SMH at the total lack of proper procedure regarding Closed confinement issues earlier in my career.

Comment from Bonny Njimogu, (9/16/2013, 12:00 PM)

My heartfelt sympathy pour out to the victims and their families both previous and current."ACCIDENT DON'T TAKE BREAK".Every player in the industry should not take break in safety matters.Let us replace OVERSIGHT with INSIGHT & FORESIGHT. Bonny Njimogu.

Comment from Warren Brand, (9/17/2013, 8:04 AM)

Hi Billy, hello Hector. I don't disagree with either of your assessments. I'm simply saying that two young men have been horribly injured. And I'm suggesting we refrain from the media tendency of jumping to conclusions without all of the facts. As for your observations, there's no way to tell if there was a hole watch - I heard a news report that said there were five employees on site. You can't tell about ventilation either, perhaps the tank had two manholes, or they removed the submersible pump and were venting from there - or perhaps the ventilation was moved to take the man out of the tank and it's simply not in the photo. Often these tanks are vented simply with duct hose into the tank top. And, perhaps it was an intrinsically safe light that malfunctioned. As pertaining to LEL, that measurement is typically used before tank entry to make sure the tank is safe to be cut open or have the manhole removed. If the tank was being ventilated (and I'm confident the report will indicate that it was) LEL is difficult to measure in fast moving air. It may be the case that everything was in place - and that the intrinsically safe light fell, shattered, and physically ignited the liquid resin. If that was the case, then ventilation, LEL and a hole watch wouldn't have made any difference.

Comment from Mike McCloud, (9/18/2013, 6:32 AM)

Billy, I love the passion. Maybe that will help someone else from getting hurt.

Comment from M H, (1/19/2016, 4:15 AM)

Here is the video of the incident:

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