At about 2 PM EST today, firefighters reported an explosion at a propane
plant in Clinton, North Carolina. The blast injured two workers, one of
whom was airlifted from the scene. Both were taken to the Jaycee Burn
Center at the UNC hospital in Chapel Hill. The explosion occurred at the
Rapid Xchange facility, currently run by Parker Gas Co.
Nine fire departments responded to the explosion and fire. They were fighting
for more than 2 hours to keep two 30,000-gallon propane tanks from igniting.
Another 25,000 20-gallon propane tanks were also at risk of exploding.
Thankfully, the firefighters bravely and successfully kept the tanks from
causing further damage.
To be safe, authorities evacuated the community for a 1-mile radius, according
to Sampson County Assistant Manager Susan Holder. She added that authorities
asked for commuters to avoid Highway 701 for the time being—at least
the stretch between Clinton and Newton Grove.
Three Violations in 2009
Parker Gas Co. has a largely clean safety record, with one exception. In
2009, North Carolina regulators cited them for improper storage of liquid
propane gas containers, among other charges. They were fined $800 total.
Our plant explosion lawyers are hoping for the quick and complete recovery
of the two workers who were burned. We also hope that whatever caused
the explosion is discovered and dealt with as soon as possible.