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Explosion hospitalizes 2

By Robin Y. Richardson Marshall News Messenger
Sept. 15, 2010 at 2:15 a.m.

LifeFlight personnel and Marshall Fire Department EMTs help load a man into the back of a helicopter after an industrial accident Tuesday at Penn Virginia Oil and Gas Company Bethany Pipe Yard in Harrison County. Two men were working on a damping device that exploded with one piece hitting one in the abdomen and possibly causing internal injuries.

A small industrial explosion at Penn Virginia Oil and Gas LLP, Scottsville, sent two employees to the hospital Tuesday afternoon.

According to Harrison County Fire Marshal Thomas Mock, the two were welding on a damper device, about the size of a basketball, at a work bench area when it "blew up on them."

"The device they were working on was a very hard steel device used in the field. They were trying to take it apart," said Mock, noting it was filled with a nitrogen bladder. Harrison County Sheriff Tom McCool said the canister possibly overheated, causing the explosion.

"It blew out of the piece of equipment, striking a gentleman in the abdomen," said Sheriff McCool.

The employee, who was struck in the abdomen, was airlifted by Life Air Rescue of Shreveport, La., to LSU Medical Center in Shreveport.

"It wasn't a matter of burns, just a matter of trauma to the abdomen - a terrific blow," McCool said of the injuries the man sustained.

"He has a really, really big mark right here from where it hit him," he said, describing the injury. "It looks like he could possibly have some internal injuries. I think that's the reason for the Life get him checked out real quickly."

"It could be serious," added Mock.

McCool said the other injured employee was taken by ambulance to Good Shepherd Medical Center-Marshall for observation.

"I don't think it's life threatening," he said of the patient, who was transported to Marshall's hospital.

Officials were alerted of the accident around 12:17 p.m. Officials from the sheriff's office, Marshall Fire Department EMS and the fire marshal responded to the scene. A volunteer from Elysian Fields Volunteer Fire Department also responded to assist after hearing of the explosion on the scanner. Life Air was summoned about 12:30 p.m.

Fire Marshal Mock said the explosion was contained to the employees' work area and no evacuations were necessary.

Names of the injured employees were not available at presstime. Attempts to contact the corporate office in Pennsylvania for comment were unsuccessful. According to its Web site,, Penn Virginia Corporation is an independent natural gas and oil company focused on the exploration, acquisition, development and production of reserves in onshore regions of the U.S., including East Texas, the Mid-Continent region, the Appalachian Basin and Mississippi.



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