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VICTIM STAGGERING ALONG COUNTY ROAD…
A pipeline explosion at an oilfield construction site in southeastern Frio County last week killed one man and hospitalized two others.
Frio County deputies say that the department was dispatched to the intersection of Hwy 85 and FM 1582 in reference to an explosion shortly before noon on Tuesday, January 31. Responding deputies described seeing a tall plume of black smoke from miles away and, as they neared the construction site, could see a huge ball of fire.
The Dilley Volunteer Fire Department was on scene, and deputies requested additional fire services due to the intensity of the flames.
According to a report on the case, emergency responders discovered a man who appeared to be disoriented from the explosion, and deputies said the victim appeared to stagger along the ranch road, wearing a hard hat and flagging down law enforcement vehicles.
During an initial interview with deputies, the 38-year-old man reported that he and two other men were working on the pipeline when a spark from a grinder ignited gas, thereby sparking the explosion.
The victim said he was then thrown back several feet before he fled on foot onto an adjacent property to get away from the explosion. Emergency medical personnel transported the man and a 19-year-old victim to Frio Regional Hospital for minor cuts and burns to their faces and hands.
The third victim, later identified as 43-year-old Luis Salazar Cruz, was found lying near a fence line, fully engulfed in flames.
JP 3 Susan Belding pronounced Salazar-Cruz dead at the scene.
The federal Occupational Safety Hazard Administration (OSHA) has opened an investigation into the explosion.