Workplace Explosion Hurts Two

Men Injured When Water Line Fails During Testing

Posted: April 18, 2014

Emergency personnel load an injured man on the AirCare 5 helicopter at Monger Park to transport him to the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville after an incident at WhiteWave Foods just outside Mount Crawford on Thursday morning. Two men working for Winchester-based Perry Engineering were injured while testing the pressure of a water line at the site of a warehouse expansion project at WhiteWave. (Photo by Jonathon Shacat / DN-R)

MOUNT CRAWFORD — Two men were injured Thursday morning when a water line they were working on exploded at WhiteWave Foods just north of Mount Crawford.

Dwane Neil, 59, of Brandywine, W.Va., was flown in an AirCare 5 helicopter to University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville to be treated for a head injury, according to the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office. Clark Rasmussen, 41, of Winchester, suffered a hand injury and was taken to Sentara RMH Medical Center in a private vehicle.

The incident occurred shortly after 9 a.m. at the plant, 6364 South Valley Pike, according to fire and rescue officials.

The two men, who work for Winchester-based Perry Engineering, were pressure-testing a 12-inch sprinkler that had been reduced to an 8-inch line inside, according to Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson. A buildup of air inside the line during the test appears to have led to the blast.

“Two employees were releasing a coupling on the blind cap on the 8-inch line when it exploded. The [Rockingham County] fire marshal indicated that more than likely the pressure from the air pocket blew the cap off,” Hutcheson stated in a press release.

The water line is part of a construction project at the plant, which is expanding its warehouse.

Jeff Michael, deputy chief with Rockingham County Fire and Rescue, said that in addition to county crews, the Bridgewater Volunteer Fire Company and Bridgewater Rescue Squad also responded.

Hutcheson said the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating. OSHA, the agency charged with the enforcing federal workplace safety regulations, typically investigates such incidents.

WhiteWave, a Colorado-based company, makes dairy and dairy-alternative products.

Contact Jonathon Shacat at 574-6286 or jshacat@dnronline.com



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