Second plant worker dies

By jeanne starmack


The second of two men who were severely burned in an explosion March 1 at the Struthers wastewater-treatment plant has died.

Ken Stiver, 57, died at 2:05 p.m. Monday, the Allegheny County, Pa., Medical Examiner’s Office said.

Stiver had been in the burn unit of UPMC Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh since the accident.

The other victim, Gary Wilson, 59, died March 29. He also was at UPMC Mercy.

Stiver was the plant’s lead maintenance man. He and Wilson, an assistant maintenance man, were in the compressor room at the plant working on wiring when the explosion occurred. A spark from the wiring set off a buildup of methane gas in the room.

The compressor room is between two large machines called digesters. The digesters break down human and industrial waste.

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation is still investigating to determine what caused that buildup, Struthers Mayor Terry Stocker said Monday.

He said the bureau is conducting interviews with employees.

While the investigation continues, the digesters are not running.

Stiver and Wilson suffered second- and third-degree burns over more than 95 percent of their bodies.

Stocker recalled Stiver as a man “with a big heart.”

“I’ve known Kenny well,” he said. “He cared about everyone. He’d do anything for anybody.”

“Our hearts go out to the family,” he continued. “He fought as hard as he could. It’s just another sad day in the community.”

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