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Death of Mississippi Teens Leads to Calls for Improved Safety At Gas and Oil Storage Tanks

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 27 Oct 2011 04:47pm | comments
The tank.

The National Chemical Safety Board is calling for more public safety protections around gas and oil storage tanks in Mississippi.  MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that the recommendations come in the wake of the deaths of two Mississippi teens killed during a natural gas storage tank explosion.

These are friends of Wade White and Devon Byrd talking during a safety video about their friends and how common it is for teens in rural areas to hang out around the gas storage facilities.

White and Byrd are the two teens killed almost two years ago in a tank explosion in rural south eastern Mississippi.

The Chemical Safety Board has released a new report investigating this accident, and the 42 other young people killed by explosions since 1983 across the US.

The CSB report found that signs, fences and locked gates could prevent these types of deaths.

Although, gas and oil storage tanks dot the landscape of rural Mississippi and there are no state or federal laws regulating how those sites are protected.

Wade's father Phillip White recalls the night his son was killed in the explosion.

"The next thing I heard was a tremendous explosion. I go out the front door, fire is coming up over the pine trees and my car is gone," White said.

The tank was less than 100-yards from the front door of his house, and he says he had no idea it was dangerous or that the boys frequented the site.

White sees the lack of signs, fencing, and gates as a failure of the government as well as the companies.

"We are hoping as parents, these children losing their lives, at least there is something good that can come out of this and we can prevent further loss of life in the future," White said.

Forrest County, where the tank is located, did approve safety regulations around these sites, but they are not currently enforced due to legal challenges.

State Senator Billy Hudson is promising to file a bill during the next state legislature to require public safety standards at oil and gas sites around Mississippi to prevent any more deaths.



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