2 Burned in Tank Lining Blast


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.

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 & Safety; Health and safety; Linings; Oil and Gas; Painting Contractors; Tanks and vessels

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