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A propane tanker explodes, injures 3 in Westmoreland County

A Sterling Transport propane truck driver and two of his colleagues were injured when a trailer exploded around 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 17. The incident happened at the transportation company’s Westmoreland County facility.

Two workers were reportedly inside of the truck depot at the time the incident occurred. Two others were standing outside of it.

The workers inside were repairing a broken valve on a butane trailer. The employees waited as it depressurized for 15 minutes. It’s then that the explosion occurred.

At least three employees were hurt in the blast. A female worker was transported by ambulance to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Mercy with moderate injuries. Two of her colleagues were life-flighted to the burn unit at the same hospital in both serious and critical condition.

Photographs from the scene show large flames coming from the building where the truck was being worked on. Witnesses reported seeing smoke as far as 40 miles away. A fire department spokesperson pointed out that there were likely other propane tankers in the building when the explosion occurred.

Emergency vehicles lined the area’s closed streets for hours as firefighters tried to battle the blaze and rescue anyone trapped inside. Nearby communities were evacuated and Hazardous Materials (Hazmat) crews were summoned to the scene to clean up any potentially toxic or dangerous situation that may have existed. Crews spent their hours after the blaze was brought under control tearing down the charred truck depot.

Employers and regulators have policies and procedures in place that they require their employees to follow to minimize the risk of an event as catastrophic like this happening. All it takes is a company cutting corners or one worker not following established protocol for an injuring or deadly incident to occur.

Anyone who suffers burns injuries who are lucky enough to survive an explosion is likely to need multiple surgeries and intensive treatment if they have any hope of being as physically active as they used to be. Mental wounds left behind by the trauma that a burn victim has endured may take a lifetime of therapy to address.

An attorney can help you recover the funding that you need to cover your current and future medical bills and lost wages if you’ve been hurt on the job in Dauphin or elsewhere in Pennsylvania.


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