Saturday, August 12, 2000

Blast probe: Rules followed

By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — A city investigation into what caused a natural gas explosion Thursday that seriously injured two city workers found that the workers did not break any policies, the city manager said.

        “(Investigators) didn't find where any policies or procedures were violated,” said City Manager Steve Sorrell.

        Larry Snelling, a safety compliance officer for Hamilton, conducted the city's investigation.

        The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will not investigate the explosion, which occurred at Eaton Avenue and Washington Boulevard, because the agency investigates only matters involving private and some federal employees, said William M. Murphy, Cincinnati area director for OSHA.

        Acting Fire Lt. Scott Helton said shortly after the explosion that city workers ignored his advice to shut down a leaking natural gas line they were replacing because he felt it was too dangerous to continue working on it.

        Hamilton Councilman Richard Holzberger said the gas explosion may have been caused by “a slow leak of gas that went undetected. We don't know what caused the explosion, but it could have been a spark.”

        Henry Reid, 38, a maintenance crew leader from Hamilton, was in critical condition and Michael Peters, 42, a maintenance crew leader from Somerville, was in good condition at the burn unit at University Hospital on Friday. Two other workers were treated and re leased on Thursday.


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