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On the Job Hazard

Susan_6 Member Posts: 42
This is a little hard to read and does not format well, but if you haven't seen the story you may find it of interst.

2 Seriously Injured as Steam Pipe Explodes

By Del Quentin Wilber

A steam pipe exploded under a street near the White House yesterday morning, critically injuring two workers who were thrown a dozen feet through the air, officials said.

The blast occurred about 8:50 a.m. in the 700 block of 17th Street NW. The steam shot four stories into the air, witnesses said, and the explosion coated cars and windows with dust, tar and other debris. Traffic was snarled for hours.

The victims were working at a manhole when the pipe exploded, D.C. police said. Authorities said the victims were seared by steam that reached 900 to 1,200 degrees. The men, Frank Stotmeister, 51, of Fredericksburg and Joseph Hudert, 56, of Glen Burnie, were taken to Washington Hospital Center. They were listed in critical condition last night with severe burns.

A third worker, Edwin Reyes, suffered less serious injuries when he rushed to his co-workers' aid, authorities said. Reyes, 30, of Hyattsville was taken to George Washington University Hospital, where he was treated and released, officials said.

Several witnesses said they heard what sounded like a jet flying overhead and saw other bystanders looking up into the sky before the blast.

Officials quickly determined that the explosion was an accident, but some people on the street feared the worst.

"With everything going on this week, my first thought was that it was terrorism," said Devon Dyson, 24, who was walking to work when he heard the roaring sound and began looking for a jet overhead.

Suddenly, he heard the explosion and saw one of the workers fall from the air.

No buildings were evacuated, but police shut down traffic on 17th Street between Pennsylvania Avenue and H Street as crews worked to repair the damage. Authorities reopened the roads by early afternoon.

The victims were employed by contractors for the U.S. General Services Administration. They were working on steam and water pipes that run under the street and deliver heat and hot water to a half-dozen buildings. Contractors have been working on the lines for several months, said GSA spokesman Michael McGill.

The GSA and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration were investigating to determine the cause of the accident, McGill said.

Margaret Hudert, Joseph Hudert's wife, said last night that her husband underwent two operations yesterday and was to receive skin grafts last night. She said that from what she could learn, the accident occurred during an effort to turn off a valve that was "old and rusty."

Her husband, who she said is a superintendent, was above, shining a flashlight into the hole, where Stotmeister was apparently trying to close the valve.

"For some reason, it exploded," she said, and the two men "went up 20 feet." In addition to causing burns, she said, the accident broke her husband's ribs.

The explosion occurred a few blocks from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund headquarters, where protesters had begun to gather yesterday for two days of demonstrations.

Several witnesses said they saw the two men as they were thrown by the blast and watched as uniformed Secret Service agents rushed to the victims' aid and dragged them to safety.

Marjorie Nance, a clerk at a coffee shop at 17th and Pennsylvania, said she heard a loud bang and immediately thought the noise might have something to do with protesters down the street.

She said she rushed to the door and saw the two men lying in the street and steam shooting from the ground.

Staff writer Petula Dvorak and staff researcher Bobbye Pratt contributed to this report.


  • Mad Dog
    Mad Dog Member Posts: 2,595

    That puppy spewed forth asbestos all over the street too - not good. Mad Dog

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  • Kal Row
    Kal Row Member Posts: 1,520
    one word \"mesothilioma\"

    though the lawsuit wont help them, their families should be ok, cause no one else will pay fairly for their injuries, it takes an ugly lawsuit to get a company to do the right thing - i am sure with a public utility, the have a zilion lawyers on their payroll, you cant get a "thaang", unless you get ugly - my heart goes out to the guys though - what
    a horror
  • jim lockard
    jim lockard Member Posts: 1,059

    That Steam plant is owned by you and I Kal. Plant is off of Capitol Hill and feds the federal buildings down thru the National Mall area. Hope the guys are ok.
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