A contract worker was seriously injured on Monday, after an asphalt tank exploded at the U.S. Polyco plant in Ennis, Texas.
Sparks from Welding Torch May Have Set Off U.S. Polyco Explosion
Responders were called to the U.S. Polyco plant, just off Interstate 45 in Ennis at 3701 N. Freeway Service Road, at 12:15 p.m. on April 23rd.
According to the Ennis Fire Marshall, a 30-year-old unidentified contractor with R-Tex in Cleburne was using a blow torch on top of an empty asphalt tank when sparks from the torch likely came into contact with flammable materials or vapors, causing an adjacent tank to explode.
The force of the blast caused the worker to fall 30-feet down into the empty tank.
Contractor Suffered Serious Leg Injuries After Falling into Burning Tank
Rescue crews were able to pull the man out of the burning tank after they cut a hole in its side.
The contractor suffered serious injuries to his legs and was taken by ambulance to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.
Workers at the U.S. Polyco plant were evacuated for several hours as a precaution. The fire was brought under control by 12:30 p.m.
Contractor Was Working to Demolish Tank Damaged in February Explosion
It was the injured contractor’s first day on the job.
He and a crew were working to demolish a tank that had been damaged in another explosion earlier this year.
The February 2nd incident occurred after a “pop-off valve” blew off of another asphalt tank.
No workers were injured in that explosion.
Officials Say Two U.S. Polyco Explosions are Unrelated
Officials maintain that yesterday’s blast was the result of “operator error” and was not related to the February incident.
“Further investigation found that this fire had nothing to do with any kind of product transfer, it was general contractors doing the work,” Ennis Fire Marshall Chad Wester said during a briefing yesterday afternoon. “It was nothing involved with U.S. Polyco itself, so we believe it has nothing to do with the prior incident — they are not related.”
The U.S. Occupational Health & Safety Administration, which is still looking into the February explosion, has been called to the U.S. Polyco plant to investigate this latest incident.
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