Brian Scott, NBC 5 News
A worker at Bridgeport Tank Trucks off Highway 380 in Wise County died when his welding torch sparked a blast Wednesday morning.
A worker was killed in Bridgeport on Wednesday when a tanker truck exploded in Bridgeport on Wednesday morning.
Jose Landeros, 50, of Chico, was working on the truck at Bridgeport Tank Trucks when the explosion blasted him several feet back, killing him, the city confirmed.
Bridgeport Police Chief Randy Singleton said Landeros was welding on the back of the empty tanker truck, which is used to transport water from oil drilling sites. Along with the water, the trucks often pick up gaseous fumes or vapors that can't be seen, Singleton said.
"When he began welding on a hatch on the back of that trailer, we suspect that some of the vapors escaped, causing the subsequent explosion," he said.
Paul Potter, who does auto detailing across the street from BTT, said he knew the accident was severe the moment he saw it happen.
"I heard the explosion, and it was pretty loud. I felt a little bit of combustion, and I was probably 300 yards away," he said. "He didn't move, not a muscle. I mean, he was flat on his back, not moving and ... once they realized that, they instantly covered him up."
Landeros was dead when police arrived at the scene within a minute of the explosion.
"Your heart kind of goes out to the family," Potter said. "The guy was probably working hard every day and just doing his job, you know?"
According to the company website, Bridgeport Tank Trucks handles "fluid transport and disposal services for oilfield production in the Barnett Shale."
Singleton described BTT as a very professional and well-respected company. It is cooperating with the police and fire investigations to the fullest, he said.
Police say they will continue to investigate the explosion to determine the cause but say it appears to be an unfortunate accident.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration website, BTT has received six initial citations in the past 10 years for possible workplace hazards but none resulted in fines, meaning the issues were likely resolved.