Injured worker dies

HOUSTON, Pa. — One of four workers injured in last week’s explosion at the MarkWest natural gas processing plant in Washington County, Pennsylvania, has died.

Jeffrey Fisher, 61, of Salem, West Virginia, died Tuesday afternoon at UPMC-Mercy hospital in Pittsburgh. His death was confirmed by the Allegheny County medical examiner’s office.

Fisher was being treated for burns at UPMC Mercy. He was one of four employees of Energy Transportation LLC of Bridgeport, West Virginia, who were injured in the blast Dec. 13. Jeff Yates, Washington County’s public safety director, said it is believed the workers were cleaning a pipeline when vapors caught fire and ignited other combustible materials.

Two victims were flown to Mercy and two to West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh.

Andria Wymar, spokeswoman for Energy Transportation, said the other three workers remain hospitalized but are recovering from their injuries.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the incident. OSHA’s Joanna Hawkins said last week “it doesn’t look like Energy Transportation LLC, has a prior OSHA investigation history.”

Chartiers Township police and firefighters responded, along with seven other fire departments, a state police fire marshal, four staffers from the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Washington County hazardous materials team.

A spokesman for MarkWest said in a statement: “We are deeply saddened that one of the contract employees injured during the Dec. 13 incident … has died of his injuries.

“We continue working with federal, state and local agencies to investigate the incident,” the statement said. “Protecting the health and safety of workers and the communities where we’re privileged to operate is our highest priority, and we work hard to ensure incidents like this never occur.”