Smith County — Smith County emergency management director Kevin Butler announced that the investigation into the cause of the deadly July 15 pipeline explosion has begun. Butler said the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were expected to be on the scene July 16.
The explosion occurred just south of Sylvarena in rural Smith County around 3:30 p.m. when workers were pressure testing an empty line using nitrogen. One person was killed and another three injured.
The deceased was identified as James Lee Candler of Sulpher, La. The three injured men were all airlifted after the incident to the University of Mississippi Medical Center for treatment. Two of the injured, Rick Lee and Wayne Williams, worked for Grand Bluff Construction Company out of Beckville, Texas. Candler and David Matthews, one of the injured men, worked for Chicago-based Priority Energy.