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NC labor department probes Hickory propane explosion
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NC labor department probes Hickory propane explosion

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James Oxygen Explosion

The N.C. Department of Labor is conducting a review of James Oxygen and Supply following several explosions at the business Sept. 3. Firefighters from at least three different departments responded to the scene. 

The N.C. Department of Labor is looking into a series of explosions at a Hickory propane business that sent one employee to the hospital earlier this month.

Jennifer Haigwood, the director of communications and policy development for the department, on Thursday confirmed the review of the explosions at James Oxygen and Supply.

Haigwood said no additional details were available.

A fireball erupts at James Oxygen and Supply. Video courtesy of Tyler McMillan.

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The Sept. 3 blasts at the business brought out firefighters from Hickory, Long View and Mountain View. Tyler McMillan, an employee at a nearby business, captured a video of fireballs erupting at the site.

One James Oxygen employee, who has not been identified, was taken to a regional hospital from the scene. Hickory Fire Education Coordinator Terri Byers said the employee is still in the hospital in stable condition based on the most recent information fire officials received from the business.

Byers said this week the fire was deemed accidental.

“Propane vapors came in contact with an ignition source which resulted in a flash fire triggering the sequence of events,” she said. Byers added that no additional details on exactly how the explosion occurred were available.

At least one truck and some outdoor tanks were damaged by the blast and ensuing fire, Byers said at the time.

James Oxygen did not respond to a request for comment on the investigation or the aftermath of the explosion as of 2 p.m. Thursday.

Kevin Griffin is the city of Hickory reporter at the Hickory Daily Record.

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