Safety & HCM Post

Fatality Files: Follow-up on Deadly Hot Water Tank Explosion


A 1½-ton tank that exploded at a south St. Louis factory, shot into the air and crashed through the roof of another building was removed and sent away for further examination. The explosion of the tank at Loy-Lange Box Co. and the impact at nearby Faultless Linen Co. on April 3 killed four people and critically injured another.

Several agencies including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Chemical Safety Board are investigating the incident. The CSB has determined that the tank is a vertical condensate storage tank, technically referred to as a semi-closed receiver. It generated the condensate, or hot water, to a steam generation and supply system for a corrugated box manufacturing process, according to the CSB.

That process was just beginning on the morning of the incident when the tank’s bottom pressure boundary failed, according to the CSB. The CSB says the tank is between 20 and 25 feet long and about three feet in diameter.

When it failed, hot water rapidly converted to steam, which caused the tank to break loose from its piping attachments and fasteners. It propelled through the roof of Loy-Lange, according to the CSB. The 3,000-pound vessel traveled about 425 feet into the air at about 120 mph. It remained airborne for more than 10 seconds, crashing through the Faultless Linen roof — about 515 feet from its starting point. Loy-Lange worker Kenneth Trentham was killed in the initial blast. Christopher Watkins, Tonya Suarez-Gonzalez and Clifford Lee, new employees filling out new hire paperwork at Faultless, were fatally injured when the tank crashed into the building’s office area.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Two Utility Workers Shot and Killed 

On April 20th, two Laclede Gas workers in St. Louis, MO were shot and killed as they worked to connect gas service to a resident’s home. Shortly before the shooting a man was seen walking through the neighborhood where they were working and, in what appears to be a random attack, opened fire on them. He then shot and killed himself.

Bongarde Editorial

Bongarde Editorial

Leave Comment

Sign up to our FREE Safety & HCM newsletter