Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Explosion at work causes fatal burn injuries

A wastewater treatment plant explosion in nearby Struthers resulted in two deaths. One worker died on March 29. The second worker, who was holding on despite serious burns, succumbed to his injuries and died April 16 at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The explosion was on March 1.

According to a news report, the men were conducting routine maintenance work at the plant when the explosion occurred. They suffered severe burn injuries in the industrial accident.

The fire marshal conducted an investigation and determined the explosion and resulting work injuries resulted from methane gas that was ignited by an undetermined source. According to a U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy publication, the gas that is produced during anaerobic digestion in a wastewater treatment facility is 60 percent methane.

The news source mentioned that there was no criminal intent involved in the explosion according to the fire marshal. However, this does not mean that there may not be negligence involved. If there is any negligence related to this explosion, the families of the two men who died can pursue wrongful death litigation including compensation for pain and suffering.

In the absence of negligence, the families may be eligible for compensation from workers' compensation or other sources.

Burn injuries are known to be painful and those with severe burn injuries are often placed in medically induced comas during their recuperation. Infection is a secondary risk for those with severe burns.

The news report does not state a cause of death other than burn injuries. The town mayor reportedly said that the second worker to die fought very hard, and that the burns were simply too severe.

Source: WYTV, "Second Struthers Explosion Victim Dies," April 16, 2012

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