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OSHA investigating incident that led to massive gas explosion at Montgomery construction site

Construction company involved also being investigated for July 15 fatal crash
Montgomery explosion.jpeg
Posted at 4:01 PM, Oct 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-08 19:44:37-04

MONTGOMERY, Ohio — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the incident that led to a gas explosion at a Montgomery construction site Wednesday afternoon.

A city of Montgomery spokesperson said a worker was operating a John R. Jurgensen Co. construction truck that backed over a gas line and struck a pole around 2:30 p.m. on Montgomery Road at the Ronald Reagan Highway interchange. The accident caused a gas line explosion, igniting a fireball that shut down traffic and forced some people in nearby buildings to evacuate. Montgomery city officials said no one was injured.

It's not the first eye-catching incident in which John R. Jurgensen Co. has been involved in 2020. The company is also being investigated for a fatal crash that happened in Hamilton, according to OSHA records records.

A construction worker was killed after being struck by a John R. Jurgensen Co. construction truck in Hamilton on July 15, according to Hamilton police.

Authorities said 48-year-old Timothy Dale Adkins of Franklin died as a result of “multiple blunt force injuries” at about 9:35 a.m. on Eaton Avenue.

The investigation of that incident is still underway, as well as investigation of Wednesday’s fire, which required help from fire departments in Blue Ash, Madeira, Deer Park and Sycamore Township.

Duke Energy spokesman Sally Thelen said she wasn't surprised to see a large amount of interest in the eye-catching scene.

According to Thelen, it took about three hours before the gas was completely shut off in the area. Duke worked closely with responding fire departments to contain the fire without cutting off nearby homes' and businesses' gas service.

“To put a fire out, we’ll reduce the pressure,” Thelen said of the process. “We’ll isolate it so that we have valves closed on either side of it, and then it’s a controlled burn."

Thelen said about 500 customers did lose gas service Wednesday night, and on Thursday technicians were working in the surrounding neighborhoods to help them relight their pilot lights.

The fact that Wednesday’s fire happened in a construction site probably helped keep many people safe, she said. However, it’s still important to remember to call 811, the national “call-before-you-dig” number, whether you’re a single homeowner or a large construction company.

“There’s a number of safety steps that we recommend to anyone, whether you’re a construction company or working in your backyard. We want to make sure that people stay safe,” she said.