UPDATE | Fire department incident report paints picture of DSM tank explosion

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- One person is dead and firefighters are on the scene after an incident at DSM Resins on 1472 Columbia Nitrogen Drive in Augusta.



Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017

One of the victims in an explosion that occurred at the DSM Resins plant on Wednesday was working inside a tank when the explosion happened.

According to the Augusta Fire Department incident report, responding units were advised that the explosion occurred involving a stationary liquid tank with no visible fire. They were advised that there was one person inside the tank and one person missing.

The victim inside the tank was removed and transported to the hospital along with another victim. The missing victim was found about 75 feet from the tank that exploded and was dead.

According to plant personnel, the content of the tank involved was wastewater. The tank was leaking but was located within a containment dike.

After the victims were removed, the scene was determined to be safe and plant personnel started monitoring the leak and air quality, not finding any safety issues.

A source close to the investigation stated that welders were welding a plate onto the outside of the non-pressurized waste water collection tank in preparation for installing a hand rail. The atmosphere was tested surrounding the tank, but the inside was not. They didn't know what the gas buildup was but the air in the tank was combustible.

Coroner Mark Bowen says the deceased victim, Steven Gonsalves, 29, of Beech Island, was pronounced dead at 1:10 p.m. Gonsalves was sent to the GBI Crime Lab in Atlanta for an autopsy. OSHA was notified.



Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017

According to the Augusta Fire Department, an explosion that occurred was the result of a welding accident. According to Augusta Fire Chief Chris James, one person died at the scene and two other workers were transported to a local hospital after undergoing decontamination for chemical exposure.

Coroner Mark Bowen says the victim, Steven Gonsalves, 29, of Beech Island, was pronounced dead at the scene. The victim was pronounced dead at 1:10 p.m. Gonsalves was sent to the GBI Crime Lab in Atlanta for an autopsy. OSHA was notified.

Chief James reports there is no further danger from the fire at this time, and firefighters will remain at the scene until the fire is extinguished. Evacuation was not necessary and there is no need for any nearby residents or businesses to take any protective actions.

DSM Resins released a statement around 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, it reads,

"We are deeply saddened by the accident that occurred today at the DSM site in Augusta. Our thoughts are with the family of the man who suffered a fatal injury as well as the two men who were injured in the accident. Based on current information these were contractors working on site not DSM employees. Local authorities are in on site conducting an investigation and this matter will be fully investigated by DSM as well. We do not currently have definitive information to share concerning the cause of the accident and it would be inappropriate to speculate at this time. As soon as such definitive information is available we will provide it."

Stay tuned for updates.