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US safety board to probe plant explosion in West Virginia

PHILIPPI, W.Va. (AP) — An independent national agency is joining investigations into this week’s explosion at a West Virginia industrial plant that left the owner and an employee dead.

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board examines the root causes of chemical incidents.

Board spokeswoman Hillary Cohen said Friday that a team is heading to the Midland Resource Recovery facility outside Philippi. According to information from the federal Office of Safety and Health Administration, the plant cleans and decommissions old odorant tanks from gas companies.

OSHA said owner Jan Strmen and employee Justin Marsh were decommissioning a tank when it exploded. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection says they were using bleach while preparing a tank for cleaning.

Another employee was hospitalized with serious injuries.

The company has declined to comment.

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