New Castle News

January 10, 2014

Fatal blast ruled accidental

John Finnerty

HARRISBURG — The state fire marshal ruled as accidental an explosion in Shenango Township, Mercer County, that killed one man and sent another to a burn unit.

Thomas R. Kobielus, 43, of 659 Bedford Road, Shenango Township, died Saturday night from flash fire burns inside his unattached garage, according to J. Bradley McGonigle III, Mercer County coroner.

Douglas Green, 40, a neighbor, was taken early Sunday to the burn trauma unit at Akron Children’s Hospital. His condition has been unavailable.

The cause of the explosion will remain undetermined until Southwest Mercer County Regional Police can interview Green, according to Police Chief Riley Smoot.

Kobielus and Green were working on a small engine in the garage when an explosion set the place ablaze about 5:40 p.m., Smoot said.

Kobielus’ 14-year-old son was blown back from the explosion and suffered smoke inhalation and minor cuts when he tried to get into the garage after it exploded.

He was treated at Horizon Hospital, Farrell.