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Chemical Explosion in Barbour County Kills Two

Two workers were recently killed by a chemical explosion in Barbour County, West Virginia that could have been prevented with a hazardous material storage building.  The incident is under an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, specific details have not been entirely released. The Board is currently being threatened with defunding under the sitting Presidential administration. This would lead to numerous unforeseen consequences irrelevant to political stance. This does not mean, however, that there is any reason there should be a reduction of flammable storage buildings due to incorrect predictions of reduced fines or reaches in enforcement of regulation. It means there needs to be an increase, as the Chemical Safety Board won’t be able to facilitate chemical explosion investigations to find the root cause, which can lead to a higher frequency of explosions and unavoidable loss of life without proper information. To learn from the past to prevent future mistakes is invaluable when dealing in preventable fatal incidents. The suggested defunding of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board does not mean that companies won’t be fined by other regulatory bodies like OSHA, FEMA, or even class action lawsuits by employees. 

In regards to the specific explosion that unfortunately took the life of two employees, the cause is not yet fully identified. The two killed were Jan Strmen, and Justin Marsh. Another was injured but is name has not been released, and local authorities investigating the incident have chosen not to comment. The incident occurred with the cleaning of a mercaptan tank. Journalist Ken Ward wrote in the Charleston Gazette-Mail “Mercaptan is most commonly thought of as the rotten egg-smelling chemical that is added to odorless natural gas for safety purposes, so that leaks can easily be noticed. Products like mercaptan are known as odorants. Midland Resource Recovery bills itself as ‘the leading natural gas odorization company in North America.’ The company has not responded to numerous requests for comment on the explosion.” This was confirmed by a chemical reporting journal Frack Check West Virginia. Authorities suspect some electrical tool may have ignited the explosion. 

Flammable Storage Buildings

With the legislation up in the air regarding the chemical regulatory board, it’s difficult to know where exactly as a company you should be headed in order to navigate the shifting sands of precepts and bylaws. No business owner wants an incident like the one above to take place for personal or professional reasons. Chemical Storage explosions are an extremely crippling event in nearly every circumstance imaginable, even if no one is injured in the process. Yet that is rarely the case, as humans are required to work on these apparatuses and machinery. That’s where U.S. HAZMAT Rentals comes in. Our dedicated and professional staff is prolific in acquiring the exact storage locker each and every company needs for common operations and specific maintenance requirements/accommodations, etc. In the case of chemical storage explosions, the 4 Hr Fire Rated Structures are the storage locker for the job. 

4 Hr Fire Rated Structures are engineered and designed specifically for flammable storage safety certification. Our four (4) hour fire rated storage buildings are for storing combustibles and flammable chemicals that need to be located within 10′ or inside an occupied facility. Our rentals ensure your company will meet all NFPA and OSHA requirements for your chemical storage needs. U.S. Hazmat Rental’s buildings are rigorously tested to hold their structure for over four hours of intense internal blaze. They will contain a barrage of excessively hot gases, liquids, and solids, protecting your workers, your equipment and your facility by providing ample time to evacuate in the case of an incident.

Renting a flammable storage building will give you the safety and assurance you need and the flexibility of rental units that allow you to manage your budget. Our fire rated storage rentals, both our four (4) hour and two (2) hour fire rated buildings, are guaranteed to meet or exceed industry standards. Check with your local inspectors and authorities to see if a 4 hour fire rated building rental will solve your hazmat storage needs.

A Four (4) Hour Fire Rated flammable chemical storage buildings comes equipped with:

  • Explosion Proof Light
  • Explosion Proof Mechanical Exhaust Fan
  • Dry Chemical Fire Suppression System
  • Explosion Relief Panel
  • Premium 12 Gauge Steel Construction
  • Heavy Duty Lock Security
  • A Built-In Sump Chemical Spill Containment
  • Drum Storage Capacity Options: 12, 27, 42, or 57 barrels
  • Movable by heavy forklift
  • Crane Lifting Lugs


June 22, 2017
Chris White

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