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.

Text Only
Local News
  • Community thanks its first-responders

    Sharpsville honored its emergency responders Sunday at an event that included Mertz Towers residents as special guests.

    July 28, 2014

  • Drilling boom challenges state inspectors

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

    July 28, 2014

  • Kidds Mill Covered Bridge A span of time

    Four generations of the Cadman family have enjoyed the Kidds Mill Covered Bridge, which is in Pymatuning Township near where the family’s ancestral farm is located.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Intruder hurts woman, takes $5

    A home invasion in Hermitage Friday night sent an elderly woman to the hospital and netted the robber $5.

    July 27, 2014

  • national night out March against crime set for Aug. 5

    At the last Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission meeting, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. presented the number of incidents for each of the four communities in May.

    Farrell topped out at 819.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • high street trail Peaceful pathways

    History buffs and picnickers in the Shenango Valley won’t have to drive to Sharpsville to hang out at the old Erie Canal extension lock. They’ll soon have the option to walk or roll in on bicycles and even powered chairs to visit Canal Park near the outflow of Shenango Dam.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • balloonquest1 Balloon Quest celebrates 25 years

    Today is the final day of the 25th annual Western Pennsylvania Balloon Quest at Scotland Meadows Park.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from July 26, 2014

    Man faces bomb threat charges

    June building tops $4 million in Hermitage

    July 26, 2014

  • Elderly man survives plane crash

    An elderly man survived wrecking his plane into a bank, then landing into a wetland, about 200 feet south of Runway 28 at Grove City Regional Airport in Springfield Township on Friday.

    July 26, 2014

  • Dontae Rashad Pinkins Man arrested for April gunfight

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April gunfight with another man in a Sharon alley.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hearing changed in starving case

    The time and place for the preliminary hearing of a Greenville mom accused of starving and beating her 7-year-old young son has been changed.

    July 26, 2014

  • Schell working on mural Drawn to Mexico

    Jason Schell probably is not exaggerating when he says that millions of people have seen his art.

    July 26, 2014 4 Photos

  • Farrell man, 24, arrested on warrant in connection with April shooting

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April shootout in Sharon.

    Pinkins, 24, of Farrell, is in Mercer County Jail after failing to post bond on gun charges.

    Additional details to follow.

    July 25, 2014

  • Firm will study timing of traffic signals

    Hermitage commissioners on Wednesday hired Whitman, Requardt and Associates LLP to study the timing scheme of traffic signals along parts of Hermitage Road and East State Street.

    July 25, 2014

  • 3 area fire depts. awarded grants

    Three area fire departments will share in more than $590,000 in grants meant to help Pennsylvania’s rural communities guard against the threat of fires in forests and other undeveloped areas, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti announced.

    July 25, 2014