Worker burned in salvage yard explosion

A worker using a torch to cut an old gas tank was hurt after the contents caught fire.

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WALLA WALLA — An employee of a local salvage yard suffered minor burns after an old gas tank he’d been working on caught fire, authorities said.

The fire was reported about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at Stubblefield Salvage and Recycling, 980 N.E. Myra Road.

Walla Walla Fire District 4 and Walla Walla City Fire crews responded to the call, as well as the Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office.

District 4 Fire Chief Rocky Eastman said an employee was apparently using a cutting torch on an old fuel tank when the tank exploded. Eastman said some residue left in the old tank may have been enough to cause the small blast.

"I don’t think there was much (residue), but it’s the vapors that ignite and explode," he said.

The man suffered first- and second-degree burns and was treated at a local hospital, said Sheriff’s Capt. Bill White with the Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office. The injured man declined to have his name released.

Maria P. Gonzalez can be reached at mariagonzalez@wwub.com or 526-8317. Check out her blog at blogs.ublabs.org/schoolhousemissives.

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