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Police: Blast victims burned

Cause of explosion at trucking company under investigation

Two employees injured in an explosion Wednesday at a Duncansville trucking company were later flown to a Pittsburgh hospital to be treated for injuries, including burns, investigators said.

On Thursday, Blair Township police Chief Roger White shared additional details about the Wednesday-afternoon explosion at Metzler Bros. LLC trucking company at 709 Second Ave. in Blair Township.

“What we do know is that there was an explosion, and there was no doubt a flash fire,” White said.

The two men were cleaning a large hauler tank used to hold fuel at the time of the explosion, White said.

Initially, responders on scene reported that one of the men was injured when he fell inside of the tank. However, White said that’s not the case.

“No one fell into the tank,” he said.

A man who had to be removed from the tank’s interior was inside of it at the time of the explosion, White said.

The explosion was contained by the tank, and, although its interior was heavily damaged, its exterior remained intact, White said.

The second Metzler employee was on top of the tank at the time of the interior explosion, White said.

“That individual was blown off the top of the tank and landed on some of the running gear that was attached to the trailer,” he said.

The explosion likely resulted in a flash fire, which quickly extinguished itself, White said.

“I know that because both individuals … suffered some burns,” he said.

Ambulances escorted by police could be seen leaving the Metzler property about 1:40 p.m. Wednesday. Responders estimated the explosion happened about 1:20 p.m.

White said the men later were flown to a Pittsburgh hospital to be treated for their burns.

On Thursday afternoon, White said both of the men were alive, and he did not know the severity of their injuries.

Investigators believe the explosion was an accident, and, because there is no criminal investigation, White said he would not reveal the injured employees’ names.

Both men were likely in their 40s, he said.

White said he could not speculate about what caused the explosion, and the investigation continues.

“We feel the two people who can shed the most light on the situation are the two employees,” White said, explaining officers had not yet spoken with them.

A receptionist who answered a phone at Metzler both Wednesday and Thursday said company officials would not answer questions or comment on the accident.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration also is investigating the accident. An OSHA spokeswoman said the investigation could take up to six months.

Mirror Staff Writer Sean Sauro is at 946-7535.

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