In West Virginia, an industrial plant exploded yesterday morning. The plant
is owned by Midland Resource Recovery, a Canada-based company that odorizes
natural gas. Their West Virginia plant—located in Philippi—specialized
in decommissioning old odorant tanks from other gas companies.
This is the
second explosion at the Philippi plant in the last two months. On May 24th, plant owner Jan Strmen and Justin Marsh were decommissioning a tank when
it exploded, killing them both. The cause of the explosion was revealed
to be that they were using bleach while preparing to clean the tank.
Today’s explosion was due to the response to the May 24 event: contractors
were disassembling a 115-liter tank in order to prevent what occurred
last month. As far as we know, only one person has been injured in the
explosion today, but a currently-unknown amount of Mercaptan was spilled.
Mercaptan is the name of the chemical that gives natural gas its odor.
OSHA has begun their investigation, and a spokeswoman revealed that the
injured worker is an employee of Professional Services Inc. Professional
Services specializes in handling hazardous material.