Shipbuilder on explosion: Safety is ‘front-and-center’

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Officials at Quonset Point shipbuilder Senesco Marine, where an explosion took place Thursday afternoon during work on a barge, said in a statement Friday they’re praying for their two workers who were injured and are cooperating with local investigators.

A propane torch was being used on top of a barge under construction Thursday, as crew members were welding. A fire broke out about 3:20 p.m., followed by the explosion, which left one man burned and another man’s leg broken.

“Our thoughts and prayers are for both men and their families,” said Gary Gould, a Senesco representative, in the statement. “We are also grateful for the rapid and professional response by the North Kingstown fire department. Safety is front-and-center for all of us at Senesco and we are going to do everything possible to work with the North Kingstown fire investigators, the state fire marshal and OSHA [the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration] to determine how this happened and to make certain it doesn’t happen again.”

Both men were taken to Rhode Island Hospital. The state fire marshal and representatives from OSHA responded to the scene.