Another Explosion in Barbour County Kills Prominent PA Man

by Duane Nichols on June 23, 2017

Should WV-DEP provide safety guidelines?

Industrial site explosion kills McDonald fire chief

From an Article by Andrew Goldstein, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, June 20, 2017

The chief of the McDonald Volunteer Fire Department died Tuesday in an explosion at an industrial site in West Virginia while working a contracting job.

Scott Albertini, 53, had been a member of the fire department for about 35 years.

“Very sad day for us here,” said borough Councilwoman Marilou Ritchie, who added that Chief Albertini had grown up in the community.

Chief Albertini, a contractor for Specialized Professional Services, was working to depressurize a tank at the Midland Resources Recovery industrial site in Arden, W.Va., when the tank exploded, killing him and injuring another worker, according to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. Arden is in Barbour County, about 130 miles south of Pittsburgh.

Ms. Ritchie and fire department president Joe Rehak confirmed Chief Albertini had died in the explosion. “He’s been a member since he was 18 years old,” Mr. Rehak said. “We’re devastated, everybody is. He was very well-liked.”

Chief Albertini was working to disassemble the empty, 30-gallon tank when it exploded shortly after 10 a.m., according to the DEP. Officials late Tuesday had not said what the tank had contained or why it exploded.

The West Virginia DEP, the state fire marshal and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration were investigating. The Barbour County sheriff’s office and West Virginia State Police were among the agencies that responded to the scene.

Chief Albertini was part of a crew from Specialized Professional Services that was attempting to make safe tanks at the site after an explosion there killed two workers in May, according to the DEP.

MetroNews of West Virginia reported that an explosion at the site May 24 killed Midland Resources Recovery president Jan Strmen, 72, of Canada, and Justin Marsh, 19, of Philippi, W.Va.

Mr. Rehak said Chief Albertini rose through the ranks of the department before being named chief several years ago. Mr. Rehak said the department has 128 members, but only about 35 who actively fight fires. Members of the department and community were shocked when they heard the news of the chief’s death, Mr. Rehak said.

“We just sat there, numb,” Ms. Ritchie said. Ms. Ritchie said Chief Albertini also served the community as a paramedic. “He was our fire chief, and very well liked — a good kid,” Ms. Ritchie said.

He is survived by a wife and two daughters. Arrangements for his funeral and a possible memorial service were incomplete Tuesday night.

See also:  Hazardous Chemical Safe Storage Compliance

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