Worker Killed in Propane Explosion

Aug. 16, 2002
A deadly incident at a steel fabrication plant in St. Joseph Township, Mich., yesterday could have been much worse without the quick thinking of some employees.

Police say propane gas built up inside a welding tank at Liberty Steel Fabricating Inc. and when employee Dustin Gaul sparked his welding torch, the gas exploded. Other employees quickly turned off welding tanks and electricity to avoid a larger, more catastrophic explosion.

The blast that rocked the facility killed Gaul, 25, and was strong enough to blow a 130-pound piece of metal into the roof of the structure, causing significant damage.

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) is investigating.

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