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SALEM Worker injured in explosion



Published: Wed, July 25, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Authorities aren't sure what triggered the blast, but they think it may have been an ignition device used in welding.

By NORMAN LEIGH

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

SALEM -- A construction worker was injured today when gas from leaking acetylene tanks exploded at a construction site at Salem Community Hospital.

Lewis Lawhorn, his age not immediately available, of Lordstown, received burns to his lower arms and face, and had facial hair singed by the blast, which occurred about 7:17 a.m. today, Fire Chief Walt Greenamyer said.

Lawhorn was taken to the hospital's emergency room. His condition was not immediately available.

Speculation: Greenamyer said Lawhorn, a plumber, opened a large metal toolbox, which included inside two acetylene tanks commonly used for welding.

One or both of the tanks had been leaking and the gas had accumulated inside the box.

Something inside the box apparently caused the gas to ignite, triggering the explosion.

"It was a pretty good boom," Greenamyer said.

Firefighters are theorizing that a device inside the box called a "striker," which is used to light welding torches, may have sparked, igniting the gas, the chief added.




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