The man injured in a natural-gas explosion on Thomas R. James Drive late Thursday morning is Mike Minnich, a Hamblen County Commissioner, a Morristown Fire Department official confirmed.
Minnich, who was conscious when first responders arrived, sustained burns on his hands, arms and legs and his hair was singed, according to MFD Capt. Scott Kimbrough. Minnich was transported by ambulance to the University of Tennessee Medical Center.
Minnich was pumping natural gas into his Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van at Holston Gases on Thomas R. James Drive when the explosion occurred shortly before noon.
After pumping gas into a port on the exterior of the vehicle, Minnich went inside the van to get a tank capacity reading. That’s when the natural gas ignited. The van did not catch fire, and the sliding side door very likely was open at the time, according to Kimbrough.
The captain says Minnich was exhibiting symptoms associated with mild shock. is also a member of the Morristown Civil Service Board. He was appointed to the commission in June following the death of Louis “Doe” Jarvis.