Whiteville Emergency Management on HERR fire death and site safety

WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) — After fighting for his life in Chapel Hill’s burn unit, one man is dead following an explosion and fire at Hazmat Emergency Response and Remediation (HERR).

The Whiteville explosion Monday sent one employee to the hospital with minor injuries. Another employee, identified by friends as Tim Hardee, was rushed to Chapel Hill with severe burns. By early Tuesday afternoon, Hardee died from his injuries.

“Our victim did succumb to his injuries this morning. This is still under investigation,” said Whiteville Emergency Management Director, Hal Lowder, Jr. “We’re praying for the families there.”

According to Lowder, the explosion happened just before 4:40 Monday afternoon. Whiteville Fire, along with other area fire departments were called to control the flames.

“The scene was contained pretty rapidly,” Lowder remembered. “The guys really hit it aggressively, hit it hard. And it was confined to one area.”

Though some worried the plant could have released toxic fumes into the air during the fire, Lowder says the only chemicals onsite were petroleum and gasoline.

“They are a hazmat remediation company, but they don’t have any toxic chemicals onsite,” he said. “As we would consider as a health hazard or anything like that. So there was no hazard to the community at any time.”

Whiteville, along with several state agencies are still investigating, but Lowder says there’s no risk to others.

“The scene is safe, the neighborhood is safe, and there’s not danger in that community at all.”

We reached out to HERR’s owner, Kyle Cox. He did not wish to comment.

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