Officials identify worker killed in Baltimore fuel facility fire, investigating – CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Authorities have identified the worker killed in Monday’s fire at a Baltimore fuel facility as Earnest Cooper, 52.

Cooper was one of four employees working at Petroleum Management, Inc., on the 5200 block of Curtis Avenue, shortly before 7 a.m. Monday when the facility caught fire, according to the Baltimore City Fire Department.

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The team was working outside the facility when the fire broke out. At some point, Cooper’s colleagues saw the flames engulf the 52-year-old, but they were unable to intervene. Cooper was pronounced dead at the scene.

“This is truly a tragic situation,” Baltimore Police Chief Niles Ford said. “We know each employee did their best to help their colleague, but unfortunately the fire became too large to be contained.”

When firefighters arrived on the scene, they found fire and smoke throughout the facility. Teams from the City of Baltimore, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County and BWI took nearly three hours to bring the triple-alarm fire under control.

Third, one of the business owners told WJZ that they were “gutting” from grief, feeling “empty” and “empty.” The owners also said that after the tragedy, their company “will never be the same.”

The Petroleum Management Company is a water treatment facility that works to prevent dangerous chemicals from entering the water supply, but after Monday’s fire, the cleanup work did not begin.

As WJZ reported on Monday, the company’s application for an oil license is currently being reviewed by state regulators.

While records obtained by WJZ show the company’s license has expired, a spokesperson for the Maryland Department of Environment said the previous license remains in effect while the company’s application is being reviewed.

State contractors returned to the scene Tuesday to take air samples.

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Vicki Ward, who works in the area, said: “I stayed pretty much yesterday because when I went out I had a cough.

But even before Monday’s fire, people living in the industrial park in Curtis Bay were worried about the air they were breathing.

“I know Curtis Bay is a more neglected area, we are on the edge of Baltimore so when will they notice Curtis Bay,” said Bobbie, who works in the area.

WJZ has contacted the Maryland Department of the Environment for an update on the air quality and water tests conducted.

“MDE’s Air and Radiation Administration yesterday collected seven air samples in the area at sites recommended by a community activist. Jay Apperson, Deputy Director of the Office of Communications said.

Apperson also said, “Regarding water sampling: we collected more samples today at the same locations in the stormwater system that were also sampled yesterday. In addition, samples were collected in Curtis Bay by boat. The samples are on their way to the lab for analysis. “

As everyone here awaits those results and wonders about their own well-being, they can’t help but think about the life of Earnest Cooper and the devastated family and friends he was left behind.

“It’s heartbreaking for the tragic side when you’re referring to the bereaved as well as the affected people around them, you know his co-workers,” Bobbie said.

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There is no word yet on the cause of the fire, the city fire department is still investigating.

https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2022/03/08/earnest-cooper-officials-identify-worker-killed-in-baltimore-fuel-facility-fire/ Officials identify worker killed in Baltimore fuel facility fire, investigating – CBS Baltimore

Jake Nichol

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