2010-04-09 / Front Page

Burned worker expected to leave hospital

By TIM GULLA Ledger Staff Writer tim@gaffneyledger.com

An employee of a Greenville-based contracting company who suffered burns during a Tuesday afternoon accident in Blacksburg was expected to be released from a hospital Thursday.

Steve Burdsal, president of Southeastern Underwater Services Inc., said in an emailed statement about the incident that one of his employees was injured in a flash fire at a job site, which was Milliken & Company’s Magnolia plant in Blacksburg. He confirmed the employee did suffer 1st- and 2nd-degree burns, but only to his forearm and hand.

Reached by telephone, Burdsal said the employee was doing OK. He said the company did not plan to release additional information.

Blacksburg Fire Chief Kline Gore had said Tuesday evening that the employee suffered burns from hydraulic fluid. Milliken spokesman Richard Dillard Jr. responded in an email that Southeastern Underwater Services was working on a tank at the Magnolia plant.

“Apparently, there was some type of flash fire involving either hydraulic fluid or gasoline connected with the compressor of the contractor’s hydraulic powered underwater saw,” Dillard wrote. “I am told the fire occurred while the accident victim was attempting to shut it down.”

Dillard added, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Southeastern employee for a successful recovery.”

The Regional One helicopter from Spartanburg Regional Medical Center was immediately called to the scene Tuesday and it was Chief Gore’s understanding at the time that the employee was taken directly to the Augusta Burn Center.

While Southeastern Underwater Services said the employee was expected to be released Thursday afternoon, it did not indicate from which hospital.

Following the incident, Chief Gore credited the First Responders at the Milliken plant for the way they tended to the injured man before paramedics arrived, saying they did a great job applying first aid.

“We are very proud of Milliken’s First Responders at the Magnolia Plant,” Dillard offered on behalf of Milliken. “They train for the unexpected, take their responsibilities very seriously, and execute their duties flawlessly when called into action.”

According to a company Web site, Southeastern Underwater Services offers diving services from potable water tank inspections to marine construction and structural inspections.

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