The Middletown gas explosion that has now claimed a sixth victim is still under investigation by local police and fire officials, OSHA and the State of Connecticut. New information has revealed that a worker issued an evacuation announcement moments before the blast occurred.
The last-minute warning was issued when monitors picked up a spike in airborne natural gas. One of the men watching the monitors was killed, the other seriously injured, when the gas ignited, causing an enormous explosion.
Investigators believe that the purging of gas lines, done to clear other gasses and debris from the lines, caused the gas to pool in a courtyard. The courtyard was located between two 200-foot-tall towers. The concern is that the lack of air flow caused the gas to collect in the confined area. According to a combustion engineer a lack of ventilation may have caused the gas to remain in one area.
“You’d be relying on natural ventilation. If the air flow is impacted, dilution is affected.”
Normally wind and air currents would disperse the gas. However it is believed that the gas pooled into the area and made its way into the building by way of temporary wooden doors. Investigators have seen signs that point to the blast coming from the courtyard into which the gas was being purged.
Many workers had been concerned over the smell of gas. There are reports that some of the workers complained of lightheadedness. Some workers left the building on their own accord before the warning was issued. Others aired their concerns over the safety of having welders working while the odor persisted.
Investigations are ongoing and today yet another worker lost his life due to the injuries he sustained in the explosion. Six people have lost their lives and a dozen were injured during the catastrophic accident.
The staff and attorneys at Glass, Lebovitz, Kasheta & Bren would like to extend our deepest condolences to the families who have lost a loved one. We sincerely hope that every injured worker makes a full and rapid recovery.