An explosion at the Burnwell Gas distribution center in the hamlet of Mumford on Tuesday was followed by a large fire. Monroe County Sheriff's deputies say one man suffered non-life threatening burns to his hands and face.
“I hear this big boom and I saw flames shoot across the street,” said Ian Mack.
The blast shook up Mack and other Mumford residents.
“It was actually shaking the house. It felt like the house was being whacked,” said Sarah Smith. “It was a little scary.”
Around 3 p.m. Tuesday, authorities say an explosion on the south side of Burnwell Gas completely destroyed the building.
“We know the challenges involved going into this. We were prepared for those things, so we know we had to protect those tanks more than anything else,” said Chief Mike Burnside of the Mumford Fire Department.
Fire officials say the building had about 19,000 gallons of propane inside, which led to several minor explosions after the initial blast.
The Town of Wheatland Supervisor, Linda Dobson, says the area was evacuated within a half a mile radius until things were under control.
“It’s pretty concerning for residents of the community,” said Dobson.
Burnside said one employee was inside at the time of the fire. He suffered burns over 90 percent of his body. Authorities believe he was wearing safety gear and his injuries appeared to be non life threatening.
“I have no idea what he was doing at the time. He was the only employee on the site at the time, so we will have to wait and talk to him,” said Keith Wrisley, vice president of operation for Superior Plus Energy.
Burnwell Gas is a residential propane heat supplier. Wrisley says Burnwell will continue to provide service to customers through another location in the area. He insists the company is focused on safety.
“We are concerned about the safety of the community, and (to) stop any leakage, and get this situation under control,” said Wrisley.
The Monroe County Fire Bureau is investigating the cause of the fire. The Red Cross is also on the scene to assist residents and fire crews, if needed.
Authorities said more information about the employee who was burned will be released on Wednesday.
Statement from Superior Plus Energy Services Regarding its Burnwell Facility Emergency in Mumford New York
The Health and Safety of the Communities in which we work and , of course, of our personnel is always our highest priority.
We became aware of the situation within minutes of the event. We immediately dispatched our Safety personnel to the scene as well as company executive staff.
There was one person, an employee, in the facility. He was injured and has been transported to Strong. He is being treated for his injuries and company personnel are with him.
We are and will of course continue to work with community authorities to identify and address the causes of this situation.