OSHA Investigates Deadly Explosion

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An investigation is underway after a 33-year-old Clarksville man identified as Daniel Rice was killed in an explosion in Johnson County on Friday (Jan. 24), according to the Johnson County Sheriff's Office.

"He was a terrific, hard working man," said Rice's cousin Nicole Rice. "Everybody loved him."

Quick Transports Inc. said investigators with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were on site Monday (Jan. 27).

The explosion happened about 7:30 a.m. at Quick Transports Inc., an oil field tanker company, authorities said.

The company said what was inside the tanker was production lease water. Which is water that has been been pulled out of the ground from gas wells.

Rice was working to thaw a tanker when it exploded at the trucking company, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office. He was hit by a metal hatch plate blown off the back of the truck.

Using a propane torch, workers had been loosening ball values on the back of the tanker truck at the time, according to a released statement.

The company is in Knoxville, just off of Interstate 40.

Two other hatches were blown off the top of the tanker. While other people were near the explosion site, no one else was hurt, according to the release.

Rice leaves behind a wife and a young son.

"He loved my daughter so much," said Rice's mother-in-law Diana Vaught. "It was just unreal how much he loved my daughter."

The tankers are used to haul wastewater from drilling sites. Methane gas apparently had built up in the tank, triggering the explosion, the release states.

Authorities said the explosion was felt as far away as a mile and a half from the site.


  • Bill

    I live about 2 miles from there on the west side of the interestate. The blast woke me up,rattled my windows and shook the whole house.

  • ben

    It wasn’t a welder he was a truck driver and as far as I know no one else was involved.prayers for his family he was a good guy and a friend

    • Nicole

      He was trying to thaw out a valve that froze. He wasn’t trying to “heat the tank” Most of the time they are only hauling water from the drilling sites. There is the potential to pick up natural gas or oils while trying to get the water. My husband worked with him & he has had to do the exact same procedure in order to get his job done. It was a tragic accident & I am sure the family would appreciate the prayers rather than the sarcastic comments.

  • Leroy Farmer

    Did the workers know that there was possibly methane in the tank? I ask because I wonder if the employer sent the men out to do a job that would require no spark/flame means of unfreezing the valve. Or did the employer have no idea the men would use torches? This a horrific accident that seems completely avoidable by some very basic safety steps by one party or the other.

  • Tonya Marie

    Here we go with small town gossip. The report states the facts, which is hard enough for the family envolved. So if you wasn’t there, are not law enforcement, or emergency personnel, keep your back woods unprofessional Johnson county gossip to yourself! The family doesn’t need any more assumptions or gossip, due to people having nothing better to do in their lives!!! Leave it to the professionals and allow the family to mourn in peace, without your uneducated 10 cents added to the mix.

    To the Rice family, my thoughts and prayers are with you. I pray that the community allows to to grieve in private. That their senseless shenanigans don’t interfere with the horrible events that you now have to deal with. Sending much prayer and thoughts from the Morrow Family!!!

    • Fort smith

      Tonya, you must not get on here much or you would see that it’s the usual bunch of idiots making comments based on them knowing no facts or anything about the situation at all. They always seem to have some type of ESP that makes them an expert on anything and everything. Instead of just saying a prayer for those involved they have to try to guess all of the details.

  • Lorri R

    This was a horrible tragedy and I pray that this company is held responsible for this young man’s needless death. Better working conditions would go a long way to keeping these drivers safe on the job. Shame on you Quick transport for putting all these men at risk.

  • Just a Friend

    I knew Daniel real well, and I know he was just trying to do what ever it took to get the job done. Daniel was well liked by all that knew him… Just a very sad tragic accident.

  • J.W. Howard

    I saw the fire trucks driving over the Knoxville bridge this morning around 7:35 on my way to Russellville. I just assumed there was a fire, I never imagined it was something so terrible. If any one of us is lost, we are all the lesser. My deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the deceased. You are all in our prayers!

  • DJ

    I am very close to this situation & been traumatized all day. Thanks so much to all of you who are offering prayers & positive thoughts. To those of y you with negative comments & pointing blame, shame on you. This was a tragic accident for so many. There is no blame nor hate & discontent that should come from this. Please pray for this family & all involved. Negative comments do nothing more than cause more hurt where it is definately not needed.

  • gut hauler

    Daniel was a great guy and I am proud to have been his friend. He was the type of man that made the world seem a little bit brighter and he will be thoroughly missed. I send my deepest heartfelt condolences to his family.

  • Praying for the family

    Prayers for the family. This one hit close to home in more ways than one. Not only physically close, but one of my cousins use to work with him, and another is related to him on the other side of the family. I know in situations like this, people will talk & question what was done right & wrong. Regardless, it’s a tragic situation. What really needs to happen, is everyone keep the family & friends in your thoughts & prayers. We never know when any of us could be in a situation line this. It’s then you realize how much those thoughts & prayers mean.

  • Sarah 1

    Sympathy to the family.

    Next OSHA should be informed immediately as this is a preventable accident.

    The insurance company covering the truck will agree to pay funeral costs, etc., but ignore all offers and find a Little Rock attorney. This company should be in litigation ASAP before they file bankruptcy protection and open under a new name (all perfectly legal). Never hire a local attorney since they are all buddies.

    • Get better informed

      OSHA was one if the first numbers called. Along with every agency in Arkansas that protect employees from unscrupulous companies operating unsafe & knowingly. Which this company does not. Please get facts before posting legalities when you obviously DO NOT know the facts. Totally not necessary.

  • Jamie Knight

    I lost contact with Daniel and his family, but we all used to work together at Lazy Earls as teenagers. Wow we where on top of the world. Daniel met his wife, we all grew up and went our seperate ways. Real shame on my part. Turns out he was the kind of friend you want to hang on to. Its been nice reliving those memories. It does bother me that it has taken such a tragedy to recall an old friend. My prayers go out to the many friends and family.

  • sharon

    Our family would like to thank everyone for your prayers, thoughts we have had a few hard days and I am sure we will have more but thanks to all of you we will make it. Kathy needs all the support she can get right now.

  • Alvie C. Beck II

    IF the trucking company was negligent, then there should be repercussions.

    I see comments that knee-jerk to sue the company but based on what is in the article, it sounds like he was thawing a valve on his own volition. While it is tragic what happened, how is the company to blame for this act? Maybe they are but this article does not lay that down to make a determination.

    The sue-happy comments above seem to jump to a conclusion just because of a tragic outcome. Would the driver be negligent and responsible to repair the tanker had his actions damaged the equipment? Would the company be within their rights to sue him for replacement costs and downtime of the trailer? I would guess you would say ‘No’ but is that not a double standard?

    I am terribly sorry for the family and my prayers do go to them. Like some others on this post have said, if you do not know any facts outside a short article, then you should not jump to a conclusion.

    Personally, I just get frustrated by the idea that if something bad happens to someone then it is win-the-lotto time. If the company is at fault, they should step up and do what is right. Would it be so bad to give them an opportunity to do so? But if they are not at fault, who are you to demonize an entity based upon such minimal information? If the driver is at fault, will you take back the negative things said about them?

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