Two workers were injured last month at an Airgas facility in Putnam County, West Virginia when highly flammable gas exploded. While the cause of the explosion remains unknown, the explosion involved approximately 50 tanks of acetylene that were waiting to be refilled at the Airgas facility. Acetylene is a gas often used in welding.

The tanks were being stored in a concrete-enclosed area located behind the facility. Once the first tank exploded, Chad Jones, a firefighter with the Bancroft Volunteer Fire Department described the explosion as a chain reaction with fireballs shooting 100 to 150 feet in the air. Nearby businesses were evacuated and the explosion could be felt at least a half-mile from the Airgas facility. The two injured employees suffered first and second degree burns, but their injuries did not appear life threatening and they are expected to be okay.

An Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) team reported to the scene and will investigate the incident further.

Airgas is the largest U.S. distributor of industrial, medical, and specialty gases and hard goods, such as welding equipment and supplies.