Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW) - It was an explosion that could be heard for miles. An empty tank was being repaired at the DuPont facility in November of 2010 when it blew up, killing Rich Folaron, 57, of South Wales.
Now, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board has answers as to why this tragedy happened.
"The accident occurred while a contract worker was welding a tank that unknown to him contained flammable gas," Chemical Safety Board Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso said.
The explosion occurred because there was a hole in the pipes leading from one tank to another. CSB explained how this happened in a computerized video they prepared. WKBW did not use some of the video because of its graphic nature.
"A hole around the agitators shaft was a path for ignition. Sparks could have fallen into the tank even as flammable gas drifted toward the sparks," explains the CSB video.
The sparks mixed with the chemical gas causing the powerful explosion. Initially, DuPont officials said that the tank was cleaned and supposedly safe for repair. Now, the CSB has made some recommendations that DuPont officials said coincide with what their investigators suggested. The company was cited with many violations and fines.
"We will basically now test the atmosphere inside the tank as well as outside the tank. We have also changed the design of our systems so there is no way flammables can be entrained into the system," DuPont Plant Manager Ronald Lee said.
Another man, Bill Freeburg, 50, suffered massive burns in the blaze, but now since has recovered and is back to work. Although before this incident DuPont had a stellar safety record, officials said they are putting safety first more than ever.
"Safety is our number one concern. We take safety very seriously," Lee said.
DuPont officials plan to make any further changes suggested by the CSB.