The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

August 21, 2013

Explosion fatality was New Castle man

Investigations under way; close call for neighbor

PYMATUNING TOWNSHIP — The New Castle man who was killed Monday evening when a fuel storage tank exploded on Industrial Park Road in Pymatuning Township died from head and pelvis injuries he suffered when he was thrown from a walkway near the tank to the ground below, authorities said.

Mercer County Deputy Coroner John Libonati pronounced Brian Krauss, 37, dead at 6 p.m. Monday.

The death was ruled an accident, Libonati said.

Krauss, a welder, was doing work for Brownies Oil Co., an operating division of Reed Oil Co., New Castle, Reed Oil Chief Financial Officer Mike Tappe said Monday.

“Reed Oil is conducting its own investigation and is also cooperating with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) to determine the cause of this tragic accident,” Tappe said in a prepared statement.

“The Reed Oil family expresses its deepest condolences to his (Krauss’) friends and family,” Tappe said.

The state Department of Environmental Protection was also at the site Tuesday, where the remains of about 7,500 gallons of diesel fuel were being contained by dikes.

There was a strong fuel smell throughout the area. DEP spokesman Gary Clark said it didn’t appear as if any fuel had leaked into any waterways.

The area is less than a mile west of the Shenango River’s crossing at Kidd’s Mill.

Transfer Fire Chief Phil Steele said the 10,000-gallon tank was drained of gasoline Thursday and that 7,500 gallons of diesel fuel were pumped into it on Monday prior to the explosion.

Krauss was one of several people who’d been working on the tanks in recent days, neighbor Marye Kress said.

Kress lives at 746 Crestview Drive, across the street from the tanks.

“I had just come into the house,” she said. “The next thing I heard was ‘boom.’ ”

She saw black smoke and a ball of fire at the tanks and called 911. When she went onto her back deck she saw the shell of the tank smoking in her yard, not far from where she parks her cars.

“I said, ‘It exploded and it is now in my yard,’ ” to the 911 dispatcher, Kress said.

“That’s a little close,” she said. “If that tree wouldn’t have been there I probably wouldn’t have any cars. It was scary.”

She was also saddened by the tragedy.

“I knew when I saw the flames over there that they couldn’t have made it,” she said.

Had the explosion happened five minutes earlier or had Kress been running five minutes later, “I’d have been right here,” she said, standing next to the tank.

It uprooted a tree and scarred the ground in her yard. A 2-foot-long piece of pipe also landed in her front yard with a thud and was partly buried in the ground.

“I hope to never hear that again,” she said of the explosion.

She and her husband, who is a truck driver and wasn’t home at the time, have three dogs and a couple cats who were also shaken up from the shock of the blast and the increase in traffic it brought to the area.

Curiosity-seekers drove by in a steady stream on Crestview Drive and Industrial Park Road since the explosion, she said.

“There were 24 cars lined up here this morning, looking,” Kress said Tuesday afternoon.

“This isn’t a tourist attraction here, people,” Kress said.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • News briefs from April 17, 2014

    Man arrested for running from accident scene

    UPMC, Southwest eyeing security at hospital

    Crashes cause diversion of Interstate 80 traffic

    Court supports prison term in chase case

    Woman gets 5-10 years in crash that killed officer

    April 17, 2014

  • Officials pledge support to sewer project

    Publicly declaring their intention to donate county land to the Upper Neshannock Watershed Authority, Commissioners Matt McConnell and John Lechner said there’s no need for Commissioner Brian Beader to worry about the loss of the sewer project at the Interstate 80/Route 19 interchange.

    April 17, 2014

  • Griswold Avenue fire Neighbors tried to save victim

    As flames and thick smoke poured out of a Sharon house Tuesday evening, neighbors rallied to try and save the man who lived there alone.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Woman nabbed, sister sought in assault

    Southwest Mercer County Regional police have arrested a Hermitage woman for breaking into a home in Farrell and beating a woman and are seeking the alleged assailant’s sister.

    April 16, 2014

  • Despite good deeds, man going back to prison

    Linda K. Kretzer had nothing but praise for Raymond C. McKelvey.

    April 16, 2014

  • 15-year-old legal battle returning to county court

    State Supreme Court has let stand a Superior Court decision sending a landmark medical malpractice case back to Mercer County Common Pleas Court.

    April 16, 2014

  • Southwest mulls how to adopt study points

    Even though some members of the Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Department had little respect for a study of the department completed by a consultant, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. pledged to implement as many of the study’s recommendations as he could.

    April 16, 2014

  • Beader plans to resign, just not yet

    Democratic Mercer County Commissioner Brian Beader acknowledges that he intends to resign, but said nothing will happen until after he meets privately with the county’s judges next Thursday.

    April 16, 2014

  • Wildlife fund for park Aiding Buhl Farm animals

    Some of Steven Jubelirer’s fondest memories of his mother, Natalie, was when they would walk together in Buhl Farm park, Hermitage.

    April 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • News briefs from April 15, 2014

    Man charged with attack on his wife in Walmart

    Woman arrested for stabbing man with knife

    3 injured in pickup-motorcycle crash

    April 15, 2014

  • Judge orders Marin removed from ballot

    Saying the testimony of Congressional candidate Mel Marin of Sharon wasn’t credible, the Commonwealth Court has ordered Marin’s name removed from the Democratic Party’s ballot for one of area’s congressional seats in the May primary because Marin now has less than the required 1,000 valid signatures.

    April 15, 2014

  • Fire ruled accident, but cause unknown

    The fire in Greenville-Reynolds Industrial Park was most likely started by workers who were gutting the building, according to a deputy fire marshal.

    April 15, 2014

  • Mertz Tower fire Mertz tenant charged with arson

    A tenant who was being evicted from her apartment because of bizarre behavior is accused of setting her sofa ablaze at Wade D. Mertz Towers in Sharpsville.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tickled reflexology and pedicure salon Crafting a new downtown

    We’ll know better five years from now what lasting impact public interest in the arts and boutique shopping had in efforts to revitalize downtown Sharon with small businesses.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Have van, need drivers to serve elderly

    April 14, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
Sharonheraldnewspaper Facebook Page