South­ern States em­ployee hurt in bar­rel ex­plo­sion

Record Observer - - Front Page - By MIKE DAVIS mdavis@kibay­times.com

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.

PHOTO BY MIKE DAVIS

A South­ern States em­ployee sus­tained se­ri­ous in­juries when an empty bar­rel he was cut­ting ex­ploded Tues­day, Sept. 6, in Cen­tre­ville.

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