Fatal Explosion at Tarpon Springs gas facility
A fatal fuel plant explosion in Tarpon Springs, F.L claims the life of one man and serious injures another. According to Tarpon Springs police, the explosion happened at 1:56 p.m. at MagneGas, an alternative energy company at 150 Rainville Road, just north of the Sponge Docks district.
Officers and firefighters responding to the scene, found one worker dead, and another was flown to Tampa General Hospital with serious injuries. Their names have not been released due to pending notification of the family members. A third person was hurt in the blast and sustained minor injuries, but was treated on scene. Firefighters evacuated about 20 to 25 employees while they searched for hazardous materials. The State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the incident.
MagneGas consultant Shepard Doniger stated, “Right now we’re still trying to get answers. It’s a very close-knit family up there, and we’re trying to get to the bottom of this.” The company released a statement, offering sympathy to the family of the killed and injured employees and said MagneGas will dedicate all necessary resources to investigate the accident’s cause. The company has “strived to create a culture of safe, compliant operations.” MagneGas Corp. was founded in 2007, and according to the company’s website, it converts liquid waste into a hydrogen-based “clean burning fuel that is essentially interchangeable with natural gas.” MagneGas also sells equipment for the sterilization of liquid waste and manure for use in various industrial and agricultural settings.
At the site of the explosion, nearby residents gathered o watch investigators on the scene. John Nazario, 16, said he was at his home on Jeru Boulevard when the floor of his house vibrated. “Everybody heard the explosion, it sounded like a very loud gunshot. I knew it wasn’t a gunshot because it was too loud for that,” stated Nazario. Another witness, Linda Walker was working at Milling Cleanup Services, next to MagneGas, when she heard the blast and saw a plume of smoke. Pieces of what appeared to be charred metal traveling from the fuel facility slammed into a nearby transformer, she said. The building where she works did not have power for hours. “Very scary. I feel for the family of the deceased. This was just horrible,” she said.
The cause of the explosion is still unknown. MagneGas Corp. owns several other properties in the area, including in Pinellas Park, where MagneGas officials have previously said they planned to move later this year.