Sparks Man Killed In Industrial Explosion - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Sparks Man Killed In Industrial Explosion

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One man is dead after an explosion at Sierra Chemical Company, Friday morning. The explosion didn't involve any chemicals or fire, but rather a tank of compressed air.

Police and fire crews arrived at the accident shortly after 8 AM, after the 550 gallon container exploded. "Not sure if it was over-pressurized or what happened with the tank, but it did explode, causing some trauma to him," Sgt. Mike McCreary, Sparks Police Department said.

McCreary says the man likely died instantly. He had been doing a pressure check on the tank, using compressed air to see if it was strong enough for use.

The explosion blew one end of the container completely off. "They have some sort of solution that they spray on the seams and that sort of thing to see if there's any leaks from the tank," McCreary said.

The employee was working far away from any hazardous materials and investigators are still determining what caused the accident.

No one else was injured. "There was a handful of employees on-site, here, and he was out here by himself, in this area, when this happened, doing the pressure check on the tank," McCreary said.

Sierra Chemical has had deadly explosions in the past, including one at their Mustang plant in 1998. Four people were killed when a chemical used to make explosives blew up.

But police say today's blast is very unusual. "One gentleman, on-site, has been here for 16 years and he said he's never seen one of these tanks do that," McCreary said.

About 30 people work at the Sparks location and were given the option to go home for the day. "They're shaken up," McCreary said. "Obviously, it's a pretty tragic event that happened where they work. They're shaken up but they seem to be holding up okay."

Police have not released the name of the man killed in this accident but they tell us he was fairly new to the company.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was on scene, today, and has taken over the investigation.

Written by Paul Nelson

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