Family devastated after father is killed in Lemoore water tank explosion

Local News

LEMOORE, California. (KSEE) – As new details emerge about Monday’s deadly water tank explosion in Lemoore, more questions remain about what caused the accident to happen.

It only took a matter of seconds for the 1.5 million gallon water tank to explode, launching 70 feet in the air and causing a tsunami on the ground.

Joe Sanchez Jr. was one of four people working at the Lemoore site when the water tank ruptured Monday afternoon. His boss, 41-year-old Dion Jones, was killed in the accident.

“I’m alright, a little sore, but that’s what’s expected after something like this,” said Sanchez.

He jumped for higher ground on his truck then rushed to try to save Jones by doing CPR.

“I helped carry him to the ambulance and at the same time I was telling him to fight for his life because his family needed him to come home,” said Sanchez.

Now, instead of planning their father-son fishing trip, he’s offering his condolences to his family.

“I just want them to know I tried my hardest and I was trying to keep him alive,” said Sanchez.

Jones was an experienced contractor from Southern California, a husband, and a father of three.

“Dion always took care of everything financially. He was a hard worker, adoring husband and loved being a father,” the family wrote in a GoFundMe account.

Jones’ wife shared a photo of their family, writing they are devastated by his unexpected death.

An investigation is now underway to find out what went horribly wrong.

City Manager Nathan Olson said the explosion happened as Dion Jones started to weld– adding the tank was not over-pressurized.

Fresno State Civil and Geomatic Engineering assistant professor Kimberly Stillmaker says pressure created the tank to launch up instead of out.

“I definitely imagine they will be looking into whether there were any flammable materials, you know investigate what the pressure in the tank was prior to the incident but really until they do their investigation it’s hard to speculate what caused the incident,” explained Stillmaker.

In a statement, Cal/OSHA says it’s investigating to determine the cause of the incident and identify any violations of workplace safety requirements.

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