Southern States employee hurt in barrel explosion
CENTREVILLE — An employee with the Southern States agriculture supply cooperative was seriously injured at 10:50 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 6, when an empty barrel exploded while he was attempting to cut the lid off, according to a report from the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office.
Jeffrey Brian Walbert sustained injuries to his face and head when the 55-gallon barrel exploded in the building’s interior garage. A co-worker called for help, according to the report.
Maryland State Police,
Goodwill Volunteer Fire Company and county paramedics responded and treated Walbert on the scene for about 10 minutes before he was transported to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, according to the fire marshal’s office. Walbert was in serious condition Wednesday afternoon, according to hospital spokesman Michael Schwartzberg.
Tpr. Keith Majerowicz said hydraulic oil residue was “probably” in the barrel, and when Walbert used a blow torch to cut the top off, the pressure built up inside with nowhere to go and eventually it exploded.
Majerowicz said Walbert was attempting to cut the top third of the barrel off because “they were going to drain the oil out of a large piece of farm equipment and they need something that could hold 35 gallons and the barrel itself was too tall to fit under there, so they needed to cut the top off.”
Southern States, located at 1002 Hope Road in Centreville, sustained no damage to its structure or contents, the report said.
The incident remains under investigation.
Southern States manager Duane Orr declined to comment.
A Southern States employee sustained serious injuries when an empty barrel he was cutting exploded Tuesday, Sept. 6, in Centreville.