CSB to Discuss Ghent Blast Findings Sept. 25

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board  convene a public meeting Sept. 25 in Beckley, W.Va., to review the findings in its investigation report on the causes of the January 2007 propane explosion at the Little General Store in Ghent, W.Va. Members of the public, emergency responders, and others who were affected by the explosion are encouraged to attend and to provide comments prior to the board's consideration of the final report. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Tamarack Conference Center Ballroom located at One Tamarack Park in Beckley at Exit 45 off of I-77. The meeting is free and is expected to conclude at approximately 8:30 p.m.

On Jan. 30, 2007, four people were killed and five others were seriously injured when propane vapor from an outdoor storage tank ignited and exploded at the Little General convenience store and gasoline station. Propane was used as a cooking fuel inside the building. The explosion leveled the store, destroyed a responding ambulance, and damaged other nearby vehicles.

At the meeting, CSB staff will present to the board the results of their investigation into this explosion. Key issues in the investigation include evacuation procedures for propane releases, propane technician training, hazardous materials training for firefighters, and 9-1-1 emergency call procedures. The presentation by CSB investigators will include a 3-D computer animation recreating the events that led to the tragedy. The presentation will be followed by a public comment period prior to a board vote on the final report.

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