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Owner, One Employee Victims in Explosion

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently confirmed that one of the men killed in the Midland Resources Recovery, Inc. explosion was the company’s owner, President Jan Strmen, 72, from Canada. He was one of two fatalities. The other was 19 year old Justin Marsh from Philippi. A third man – another employee – was injured in the explosion and is still in the hospital recovering.

Midland Resources Recovery, Inc. specializes in gas odorization and operated from a location on Route 119 outside of Philippi. According to a report from the US Labor Department’s Office of Public Affairs, the two employees and the owner were decommissioning an old odorant tank at the time of the explosion. Decommissioning is done to permanently close a tank. The process can be done by capping or filling the tank with an inert material. Decommissioning also involves removing materials from the tank.

Officials are still unsure if the tank exploded from the inside or the outside.

Third Injured Victim in Critical Condition

The injured victim was taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital shortly after emergency services arrived on the scene of the explosion and underwent surgery that same evening. Chief Deputy Brett Carpenter called his injuries “pretty substantial.”

Midland Resources Recovery, Inc. specializes in adding the odorizer Mercaptan to gas to make it identifiable and alert anyone in the vicinity to the potential danger.

OSHA Considers Explosions an Avoidable Problem in the Workplace

According to information on the OSHA website, employer negligence is one of the main causes of workplace fires and explosions. Explosions account for a small number of workplace deaths, but officials believe it could be easy to eliminate most of these fatalities with better employer and employee training.

West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office, the West Virginia State Police, the Barbour County Sheriff’s Office, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Department of Environmental Protection, and the U.S. Chemical Board are all investigating the explosion, and the investigation is being coordinated by the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office.

If you’ve been involved in a workplace explosion you have a right to take legal action. For more information or to speak to an attorney, contact Heavens Law at 888.897.5377.




Victims in fatal Barbour County explosion identified