Investigation continues after explosion at Liberal Groendyke facility

SEWARD COUNTY, Kansas – Today, the Liberal community is trying to piece together exactly what happened yesterday afternoon when an explosion rocked a Groendyke Transport facility just southeast of town.

KSN spoke with leaders in the community about just what happened and how they’re moving forward.

Three Groendyke employees remain at a Wichita hospital burn unit after they were critically burned yesterday.

While investigators work to find out exactly what happened, this community is supporting the families.

“Property can be replaced. People cannot,” said Liberal Mayor, Joe Denoyer.

In a close-knit community like Liberal, everyone comes together after a tragedy.

“We have a very giving community,” Denoyer said. “We have a community that cares about each other. Whether we know each other or not, we’re all one.”

We continue to learn new details about what happened.

According to the company, a flash fire happened in a wash bay where the three injured employees were working.

The outside of the truck was being washed and the last product to be inside the truck was a natural gas byproduct.

“During our time here on scene we did evacuate the area with help from Seward County Sheriff’s Office for safety reasons concerning a possible larger explosion,” said Seward County Fire Chief, Andrew Barkley.

In a released statement, Groendyke president said, “We care a great deal for our employees and their safety, and we are working diligently with investigators to discover the cause of the accident.”

Meanwhile, the community has started collecting funds for those injured, and their families.

“I came in this morning to work and there was an envelope with a hundred dollars in it and on the envelope it said “for the Groendyke families,”” Denoyer said.

The Seward County administrator tells me the Liberal Groendyke facility was able to set up temporary offices at a nearby church that opened its doors to them, so they could continue operations.

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