Whitesburg KY

Propane leak caused explosion at school

Letcher County Schools Supt. Anna Craft said officials from the state fire marshal’s office have determined a propane leak was the cause of a gas explosion near Letcher County Central High School last week.

Two maintenance employees with the county school system were seriously injured March 30 in a gas explosion after Tim Miller, who was working in a manhole where water gathers as a byproduct of the HVAC system’s steam boiler, unplugged a pump which caused a spark and ignited gas located in the manhole.

Miller, 29, of Whitesburg, suff ered burns on 40 percent of his body, with second-degree burns on his stomach, hands and arms. David Young, 38, of Kentucky River, a community located between Payne Gap and Kona, suffered burns on about 20 percent of his body. Miller was transported by helicopter from the Whitesburg hospital to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Young was taken by ambulance. Young was released from the Cincinnati Hospital on March 31 and Miller was released on April 1.

Craft said in a press release that the leak has since been repaired and the fire marshal’s office signed off on April 1 that it was safe for students to return to the Ermine school. Craft said school was canceled March 30–April 2 to give officials time to finish their investigation.

Ricki Ga rdenhire , spokeswoman for the state Public Protection Cabinet which oversees the state fire marshal’s office, said a report has not yet been released by the fire marshal’s office detailing findings from its investigation.

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