LOWELL (CBS) – Police say a 50-year-old man was seriously hurt after an explosion occurred while he was working on an underground tank at a Lowell gas station.
Officers and firefighters were called to Mahoney Oil Company on Plain Street at 10:30 a.m. on Friday on a report of a gas explosion. They found the man suffering from burns to his head, face, arms, hands and legs.
A co-worker and other witnesses told police that the victim works for a contractor who was hired to do work on a pump in the tank. The gas to the pump had been shut off.
The man was working in the tank and was in the process of cutting a pipe when an explosion occurred, engulfing him in fire, police say.
The co-worker helped him out of the tank and provided aid while waiting for emergency crews to arrive.
After stabilizing the victim at the scene, he was taken to Lowell General Hospital where MedFlight then flew him to Massachusetts General Hospital.
Investigators say a preliminary investigation points to the possibility of residual fumes inside the tank and a spark from the cutting tool causing the fire.
U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials were on scene, along with Lowell fire investigators.
Authorities have not identified the victim.