Brown injured in oil tank explosion

Posted May 1, 2013 at 2:03 pm


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Devastation rocked South Albany Thursday when an oil tank exploded at the BWI lot located behind Lee’s Famous Recipe.

According to the Kentucky State Police, Kenneth E. “Buddy” Brown was grinding on a 210 barrel tank when sparks ignited the fumes and caused an explosion.

Brown suffered severe burns and was flown to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville where he is being treated for what was described by the KS{ as non life threatening injuries.

Lake Cumberland Head Start, also located near the area where the explosion occurred, and Lee’s Famous Recipe were evacuated as a precautionary measure, but no other injuries were reported.

The State Fire Marshal and Albany Fire Department assisted and the EPA was notified. KSP Arson Detective Alex Wesley investigated the accident.

One of the first on the scene was Albany Mayor Nicky Smith, who was driving just a few hundred yards from the site of the explosion when it occurred.

“I saw the smoke when I came around the curve at Shell,” Mayor Nicky Smith said. “When I got up there, they already had Buddy carried out. I called and they already had the ambulance and police on the way.”

Smith said the people of Albany did a good job of stepping in and helping out until first responders could make it to the scene of the explosion.

“There were 10 or 12 there before I got there,” Smith said. “That is the ‘neighbor taking care of neighbor’ thing. We’ve always done that. Most communities will do that and I think we do it better because of who we are.”

To confirm how the mayor feels the community acts in a situation like what happened Thursday, Kenny Mims, a local farmer, was in the area when the explosion occurred and he rushed to help, disregarding his own safety for the safety of others.

“I still think about it at night. I was scared to death. The fire was so big and there was so many people around I thought the other tanks were going to explode. It’s something you don’t want to do everyday,” Mims said. “He (Brown) was blown almost out to the road when I got there.

Mims was at the Farm Services Administration (FSA) Soil Conversation office, located across U.S. 127, when the explosion occurred.

“I was at the farm office. I got in my truck and just as I turned the key my truck shook. I thought someone had put something under my truck. I did the best I could do. I did what anybody would have done,” Mims said. “He was hurting so bad and I was afraid to move him. I was trying to drag him away from the fire. I was telling the police to get people out of there and I was afraid the other tanks were going to explode and hurt a bunch more people.”

Mims said when he arrived on the scene, the fire from the explosion was intense.

“All I could see were the other tanks and I thought they were going to blow up too,” Mims said. “I really didn’t know what to do. I think the girl who runs the head start, came out to help too. She brought a blanket out and we dragged him away from the fire. I thought he was going to burn up.”

“All I could think about was there is a bunch of people around here and what happens if the other tanks go up because I didn’t know there wasn’t any oil in them. I didn’t know they were brand new,” Mims said.

In addition to a host of volunteers helping at the scene, virtually every law enforcement and emergency agency in Albany and Clinton County were involved in the rescue, transport, traffic control and investigation of the explosion accident.

As of press deadline, Brown was still being treated at Vanderbilt Medical Center. There has been no update on his condition.

A clean up crew worked Friday morning at the BWI Building after an oil tank exploded Thursday, injuring Kenneth E. “Buddy” Brown. According to the Kentucky State Police, Brown was grinding on the tank when sparks ignited fumes inside the tank causing the explosion.