4 injured in explosion at Liberal company

Joe Denoyer sent this photo taken in Liberal, Kansas Tuesday afternoon.

LIBERAL, Kansas – Authorities are trying to determine what caused an explosion and fire at a southwest Kansas business.

The explosion Tuesday at Groendyke Transport Inc., southeast of Liberal, injured four people.

Seward County Fire Chief Andrew Barkley says a propane or natural gas tanker inside a large metal building exploded and caught fire for still-undetermined reasons.

The Hutchinson News reports, fire crews believe the tanker was empty but employees reported gas vapors were released.

Three employees were first taken to a Liberal hospital and then flown to a Wichita hospital. They were in critical but stable condition. A fourth employee was treated for minor injuries.

U.S. 83 was closed south of U.S. 54 in Liberal for about 2½ hours. No homes were endangered because the company is in a rural area.

Investigators with the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s office have been called out to help with the investigation.

The Wichita office of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Admistration has opened an investigation into the blast.

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Photo by Liberal Mayor Joe Denoyer

 

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