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A construction worker was hospitalized with serious burns after a gas line explosion Friday in Ocala, Florida.

Multiple units from Ocala Fire Rescue responded to reports of an Ocala gas line explosion shortly after noon at the site near the intersection of NE 25th Street and NE 36th Avenue. Engine 5 arrived within three minutes to find an active gas line fire with a tall flame burning behind a construction vehicle, a report states.

Crews from Engine 5 and Engine 2 controlled the fire until the gas line was secured, while paramedics from Rescue 1 and a Marion County Fire Rescue unit assessed the construction worker’s burns. Marion County Fire Rescue’s Critical Care unit also responded to transport the injured construction worker to UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville.

Ocala gas line explosion:
Routine construction operations

It was later determined that the fire began after a gas line was inadvertently punctured during routine construction operations. Officers from the Ocala Police Department and representatives from TECO Peoples Gas company also responded to the incident.

Ocala gas line explosion hospitalizes construction worker

Ocala gas line explosion: A construction worker was hospitalized with serious burns Friday after a gas line explosion in Ocala, Florida.

Munitions factory explosion:
Five workers injured in blast

An explosion at a munitions manufacturer in Greene Township, Pennsylvania, sent five people to the hospital Friday, but Chief David Jones of Jamestown Volunteer Fire Department said the incident was much less serious than it could have been.

“On one of the production lines there was really a pretty minor explosion of product,” Jones said of the blast at Combined Systems Inc. (CSI), which happened shortly after 9:30 a.m. “There were five people in the very immediate area that were injured and transported to the hospital. Four have been treated and released; one’s just hanging out at this point for observation.”

Jones said the explosion was “pretty boring compared to normal out there anyways,” recalling a handful of fires his department has responded to at CSI, a supplier of munitions and tactical equipment to the defense industry and law enforcement.

Minor smoldering and smoke were produced by the explosion, but no fire resulted, Jones said.

Munitions factory explosion:
Company to investigate

No cause was identified for the explosion, and Jones said CSI would conduct its own investigation. Since no fire had occurred, he said, there was no reason for a state police fire marshal to investigate.

The building in which the blast occurred had been evacuated by the time firefighters arrived at the scene. “Everyone was outside the building, and their safety officer said there was no fire and they were ventilating the building to get what smoke was in there out,” Jones said.

Greenville Fire Department, Life Force Ambulance and Conneaut Lake Area Ambulance Service also responded, according to Jones. Other fire departments that had been dispatched were returned to service when Jamestown arrived to discover that no fire had occurred.

Munitions factory explosion:
Numerous incidents at CSI

The (Sharon) Herald has reported on a variety of dangerous incidents at CSI – several of which resulted in injuries – over the past decade:

  • Last March, eight fire departments from Crawford and Mercer counties responded to a fire at CSI.
  • In April 2015, one man was injured at the facility when he and another employee were destroying expired munitions.
  • A September 2013 fire in the “gas house” facility, which produces tear gas canisters, sent a dozen employees to the hospital for treatment.
  • Earlier in 2013, one employee was hospitalized after an explosion and fire.
  • Another tear gas-related explosion ignited a fire in February 2012 but did not result in injuries.

CSI produces security products for global defense and law enforcement markets, according to the company website: “As the premier supplier of less-lethal munitions and launching systems, CSI manufactures products for riot control, police tactical teams, corrections officers, and military units.”

Among its products are aerosols, chemical munitions, impact munitions, CTS Flash Bangs and Sting Ball Grenades, breaching equipment and handcuffs.

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