Explosions occur daily in the United States. It’s nearly impossible to avoid seeing news reports about them.
Set a Google alert for the word “explosion,” and watch as your inbox is inundated with updates.
Here are three recent headlines about explosions and their aftermaths:
Oklahoma gas explosion
From Reuters: A third-party contractor was hospitalized Tuesday after an Oklahoma gas explosion along a pipeline owned and operated by DCP Midstream, a company spokesperson said. The explosion was reported in the area of county roads 2890 and 1420, east of Ninnekah, and the pipeline was shut down temporarily.
“The fire is out,” the spokesperson said in an email. “There is no material impact on operations from this incident.”
The Oklahoma gas explosion was caused after an excavator digging for a new pipeline hit an existing active line, said Bale Thompson, the director of Grady County emergency management.
Ninnekah is a town with a population of about 1,000 located about 50 miles southwest of Oklahoma City.
Ridgefield explosion victim
dies of his burn injuries
From news services: Mark Schellack, 48, died of his injuries sustained in a home explosion Monday in the borough of Ridgefield, New Jersey, which is located about 10 miles north of Jersey City. Schellack was a lifelong resident of the home.
“My son used to play with him, and I knew the whole family,” neighbor Barbara Maguire said. “They lived here many many years.
“He’d play with his nephew,” Maguire said. “His sister had a little boy, so he would play with him. And if you asked Mark for anything, he would do it for you. He was just a nice, nice guy.”
Schellack, who lived alone, was rescued from beneath the rubble of his garage by an off-duty police officer who lives nearby and two uniformed borough officers after the explosion on Abbott Avenue near Elizabeth Street just before 11:30 a.m. Monday.
Schellack was first taken to Hackensack University Medical Center before being flown to Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, where he was later pronounced dead early Tuesday. He had sustained burns on 80 percent of his body.
Mark Musella, the Bergen County prosecutor, said an investigation by his arson unit was continuing, although he said “it appears that the source was natural gas” from inside the house.
“PSE&G conducted a pressure test and concluded that there were not any leaks in the gas line spanning from the street to the home, indicating that the explosion was exclusive to an event within the residence,” Musella said.
It took firefighters nearly 90 minutes to extinguish the blaze, a task made easier once a PSE&G crew arrived and closed the gas line.
The explosion littered the street, sidewalk and nearby cars with debris. Neighboring homes were damaged and had to be evacuated.
Lisa Calabria, a next-door neighbor of Schellack’s, said her windows were blasted out and her door blown off.
Despite the widespread damage, neighbors were more concerned with the loss of their neighbor.
“He just took care of everything,” Maguire said. “Mowed the lawn, and I was saying just the other day he was out washing the car.”
Philadelphia refinery explodes,
injuring four workers
From The Philadelphia Inquirer: Explosions ripped through a refinery in South Philadelphia early Friday, lighting up the night sky and triggering a massive fire. Four plant workers suffered minor injuries and were treated at the scene, said the company owner.
Firefighters contained the blaze within a couple hours, and officials lifted a shelter-in-place request for residents in the immediate area and reopened the Platt Bridge, which was closed after the explosion.
The city’s Office of Emergency Management said preliminary testing at the refinery “found no ambient carbon monoxide, hyrocarbons (combustibles), or hydrogen sulfides,” and that it is awaiting results from additional testing from the Air Management Services lab.
Craig Murphy, the city’s deputy fire commissioner, said the blast was reported at about 4 a.m. local time, and firefighters arrived to find firefighters for the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) refining complex battling the blaze.
Officials from the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection could not be reached for comment.
Elliot Olsen has decades of experience representing people harmed in fires and explosions. You can contact him for a free consultation by filling out the following form and submitting it: