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1 dead, 4 injured in Pennsylvania army depot explosion and fire

A central Pennsylvania man died from injuries that he suffered roughly 12 hours earlier in an early morning explosion on July 19 in Chambersburg. The 29-year-old man was reportedly working with chemicals at the Letterkenny Army Depot around 7 a.m. when a flash fire erupted. There was a subsequent explosion.

According to the Lehigh County coroner’s office, the man, who worked as a civilian employee at the facility, died at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest as the result of the burns he suffered in the incident.

The blast occurred in the area of the depot where vehicles used for route guidance are painted. Approximately 300 people work in that area of the depot, which sits on about 18,000 acres of land. Employees were evacuated from the depot.

Four other employees, all civilians as well, were injured. All were taken to area hospitals. According to the commander of the depot, two of them were treated and released. At least one of those victims suffered smoke inhalation. The other two were listed in critical but stable condition.

The depot commander said in a statement, “The entire Letterkenny family is mourning this loss. We continue to keep the families and all of our teammates in our thoughts and prayers.”

Although the man’s death was ruled accidental, the incident will be investigated by both the Army and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), according to the commander.

When civilian workers are injured at a military facility, there may be an added layer of complication regarding eligibility for workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits and other sources of compensation the employees may pursue as they take needed time off to get treatment and recover from their injuries. An experienced Pennsylvania attorney can help victims and families navigate the appropriate private and public agencies and fight for what they deserve.

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