Too Much Pressure in Storage Tank Blamed For Bango Oil Explosion

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FALLON, NV - It was nearly one month ago that an explosion and fire rocked the Bango Oil plant west of Fallon, sending a thick plume of black smoke into the chilly morning air.

One worker was severely burned.

It took firefighters from Churchill County and the Fallon Naval Air Station two hours to extinguish the flames.

A preliminary report from the investigation by the fire department and the state fire marshal's office released Wednesday says it all began with too much pressure in an asphalt storage tank.

Churchill County Fire Chief Fred Rogne says that led to some of the hot asphalt oil being vented from the top of the tank.

The oil splashed down on 24 year old Daniel Snodgrass who was working below. The oil, which had been heated to 500 degrees as part of the recycling process, burned him.

Snodgrass was apparently heating pipes in the bitter cold, using a hand held burner with an open flame.

That flame ignited the oil, causing the fire and the explosion that followed as the tops of storage tanks blew off as they're designed to do.

The statement leaves some questions unanswered including the still unexplained high pressure in the storage tank. In a press release issued the day after the incident, the company says the plant was operating normally at the time.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is conducting its own investigation. Results could be available in two weeks.

Snodgrass suffered second, third and fourth degree burns over more than half of his body.

He was flown to the burn center at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento in critical condition.

A hospital a spokesperson tells us he's now listed in good condition meaning his vital signs are stable and indications are excellent.

His parents, Kevin and Lois Snodgrass, say he has good days and bad, but is enduring a daily routine of painful treatment and rehabilitation.

Daniel Snodgrass is the oldest sibling in a family of nine which now faces months of unexpected expenses.

An account has been set up to aid them. Donations can be made at any Wells Fargo Bank branch.