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Survivor of Ghent Propane Explosion Dies at 74

Survivor of Ghent Propane Explosion Dies at 74

Associated Press

May 17, 2010

BECKLEY, W.Va. — A volunteer firefighter who survived a deadly 2007 propane tank explosion at a convenience store in Ghent but was never well enough to return to duty has died.

Services were held Monday in Beckley for Donnie Ray Caldwell, 74, of Coal City.

Four people were killed when propane gas suddenly blew through a faulty valve that was stuck open, leveling the Little General Store. Six others were injured, including Caldwell.

Federal investigators said the 500-gallon tank was too close to the building, and cited the lack of training for technicians and emergency crews.

Ghent fire chief Jim Belcher says Caldwell was hospitalized long after the blast. Although he was eventually released, Belcher says Caldwell never really recovered.