Worker killed in gas explosion in Bethlehem Township

Posted at 11:22 AM, Oct 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-23 18:38:02-04

A worker was killed while performing maintenance on a gas valve in Stark County Monday. 

According to the Erie Valley Fire and Rescue, the explosion happened in the 8500 block of Beth Avenue SW just after 10 a.m.

The Stark County Coroner's Office confirmed that one person died. The victim was identified at Wesley Johnson, 60, of Wooster.

Major C.J. Stantz of the Stark County Sheriff's Office told News 5 the explosion happened at a Columbia Gas Transmission valve station.

A spokesperson for TransCanade, which owns Columbia Gas Transmission, referred to the location as a system meter station. 

The exact type of maintenance work that was being done prior to the deadly explosion has not been revealed. Another worker was in the area, but he was not injured.

Officials evacuated the area because natural gas, dirt, debris and oil were spewing into the air  After the gas was shut off, residents were allowed to return to their homes.

The cause is not known at this time.