A 22-year old worker has been killed in a Sears Auto Center explosion, which took place in the Mall at Rockingham Park, in Salem.
The incident occurred on Saturday December 19, at approximately 7:50 a.m., within the confines of the largest shopping center in New Hampshire.
Assistant store manager Justin Almon, originary from Sandown, New Hampshire, had been trying to inflate a massive truck tire using a heavy-duty tire changer
The machine was meant to secure the vehicle’s tire on the rim, while filling it up, but somehow the tire burst into pieces, severely injuring the auto shop worker, as well as a customer who was also present in the store at the time.
Apparently, the two men had been extremely close to the tire changer, so the exploding tire struck them both in the head, with incredible force.
Several witnesses who were in the vicinity when the blast occurred immediately contacted 911, offering dispatchers a distraught account of the incident.
First responders from the Salem Fire and Rescue Department promptly arrived at the scene, taking the shop assistant to Parkland Medical Center, at around 8 a.m.
Upon arriving, it was discovered that Almon had been critically injured, and the young man was declared dead shortly afterwards.
The customer, later identified as 23-year old Adam Sproud from Boothbay, Maine, was initially taken by an ambulance to Lawrence General Hospital, and afterwards transferred by air to Boston Medical Center.
He has also sustained significant blunt force trauma to his head, and for now his prognosis is guarded, according to Michael Kelly, Salem police lieutenant.
An inquest is currently under way in order to determine the factors that contributed to the explosion. It’s being led by Salem Police Department officials from the Investigative Services Unit, in conjunction with experts at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
So far, preliminary findings reported by Chad Clark, Salem Police Sergeant, have shown that Almon had probably had his head tilted over the tire equipment, and that’s why the blaze proved to be deadly for him.
John Brackett of the Salem Fire Department has said that while such blasts are extremely rare, excessive pressure can eventually result in tire blowout, in some exceptional cases.
Sears representatives have also recently released a public statement regarding this incident, extending their condolences towards the family of their employee, as well as sending good wishes to Adam Sproud, who is still under medical supervision.
In addition, the company has declared that it’s been collaborating with investigators ever since the blast was first reported, so that light can be shed in this case.
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