November 26, 2022

Acetylene tank explodes in Orient

ORIENT — A construction trailer containing an acetylene tank exploded just after 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14 on Highway 25 on the south edge of Orient.

Emergency responders who were first on scene said they immediately determined there were no injuries, however there was debris all over.

“I think what they saw right off the bat were a bunch of things laying around (in the highway),” said Orient Fire Chief Mike Swanson. “Nobody really had a clue of what was going on. Come to find out, a construction trailer went through town. They had a gas leak from an acetylene tank that was stored in a trailer. However it happened, when they hit a bump it set it off and exploded the trailer.”

Two ambulances responding from Greenfield helped to block Highway 25 in front of the Orient-Macksburg School. A fire truck blocked the highway one mile south of Orient. The road was closed for about two and a half hours, Swanson estimated, while crews cleaned up debris.

Swanson said the two closest houses to the scene experienced windows being broken. One he thought was due to the blast and the other was because of flying debris. Bystanders told the Adair County Free Press that the blast could be felt all throughout Orient.

“Nobody got hurt, thank God. I have no idea how that didn’t happen,” Swanson said. “We just had to pick everything up. There was a lot of stuff laying around when we got there and trying to figure out what happened was kind of a deal.”

Swanson said he doesn’t know how large the tank was that exploded but said it was likely a standard-size acetylene bottle used for a torch.

Orient firefighters on scene were assisted by Adair County Ambulance and Adair County Sheriff’s Office personnel.

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson has served as News Editor of the Adair County Free Press and Fontanelle Observer since Oct. 2017. He and his wife Kilee live in Greenfield. In Greenfield and the greater Adair County area, he values the opportunity to tell peoples' stories, enjoys playing guitar, following all levels of sports, and being a part of his local church.