2 staffers hurt in explosion at Letcher Central High

WHITESBURG — A gas explosion injured two maintenance workers Monday morning at Letcher Central High School in Whitesburg, Letcher County Schools Superintendent Anna Craft said.

No students were hurt, Craft said, but students were sent home for the day. School also will be closed Wednesday.

The two maintenance workers, who have not been identified, were taken to the Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Healthcare hospital and then to the burn unit at University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Craft said she talked to both men before they were taken to the hospital, and both men were speaking and alert.

The two men were working in a 3-foot-deep concrete pit containing sump pumps, Whitesburg firefighter Perry Fowler said. He said investigators were trying to determine whether backed-up sewer gas or nearby propane lines caused the explosion.

Ricki Gardenhire, spokeswoman for the state Public Protection Cabinet, which oversees the fire marshal's office, said early investigations indicate that one of the workers unplugged a sump pump, which could have caused an arc that ignited the gas.