The liquid oxygen was held in a foam cooler with rags inside of the cooler, according to Patrick County Emergency Coordinator Steve Allen, who added the oxygen is used to freeze parts before they are used.
The cooler was last used around 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 25, Allen said in an emailed statement.
The blast occurred around 12:30 p.m., he said.
Shortly before the explosion, employees used equipment that included a grinder and a welder, Allen said.
Three people were injured in the blast, according to a company representative who declined to be named. Other employees were either out to lunch or not in the shop area at the time, the representative said.
Those injured were transported to medical facilities for treatment of minor injuries, the representative said. All were treated and released, according to the representative and Allen.
The incident remains under investigation by the Virginia Occupational…