Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove says around 11:30 this morning, 33-year-old Larry Madison Jr. was using a torch to cut into a tank. Hargrove says Madison was trying to measure the contents inside the tank, when the blast occurred.
"When he penetrated the tank top with the cutting torch, there was an explosion that occurred. He was killed instantly. He was blown approximately 93-feet from the tank landing in a wooded area to the north of the property. Workers went to him but were unable to help him as a result of the injuries that he incurred," Hargrove says.
Gulfport police blocked off the road leading into the plant as a precaution against any escaping chemicals. But fire department spokesperson Pat Sullivan says, "There was no release of any type of product. It was not a hazardous chemical type of product. This particular plant makes emulsified asphalt that they use in roadwork."
Hargrove says because of the extent of Madison's injuries, an autopsy will be performed Thursday. OSHA investigators from Jackson will also be at the plant Thursday to figure out what caused the explosion.