City seeks source of blast

Dawson Duplantis shows off the jacket he was wearing on New Year’s when a lighter being used to light the fireworks sparked an explosion in a nearby manhole.  Photo by Will Sullivan

Dawson Duplantis shows off the jacket he was wearing on New Year’s when a lighter being used to light the fireworks sparked an explosion in a nearby manhole.
Photo by Will Sullivan

City crew was digging into the pavement and ground beneath on Thursday beneath at the corner of Rowland and Mills, a block off of West Canal, trying to find the cause of an explosion in the area.

Residents there say they have smelled something that appeared to have the odor of natural gas after it has had the distinctive scent added.

However, one resident from nearby apartments, Sean Taylor, said he hadn’t reported it and didn’t think anyone else had.

“Actually, after Valspar shutdown, I thought it was something draining from over there,” Taylor said. The paint company had been located nearby.

“I’ve been smelling it for about three months now. It was so strong it takes your breathe away,” he said.

He saw the blast and said it threw the manhole cover “20 feet in the air.”

The explosion occurred on Jan. 1 as Dawson Duplantis, her 5-year-old son, and another child were shooting off fireworks under the supervision of her boyfriend, said Megan McVey.

Dawson “was with my boyfriend popping off fireworks when my boyfriend lit his lighter to light the fireworks.

Then the manhole blew up,” McVey said.

Dawson had abrasions and burns on his face and his hair was burned, including his eyelashes, and he had second and third degree burns on his left ankle, McVey said.

“I had a new baby boy on the 26th (of December) and then we had to go all the way to Jackson with Sean, carrying the baby,” she said, for the burns to be treated.

Public Works Director Eric Morris, who was at the site of the blast with the crew Thursday afternoon, said the city and the Pearl River County Utility Authority are working together to try to determine the cause of the blast reported by the residents.

“So far, it’s a cooperative effort between the utility authority and the city of Picayune,” Morris said.

It could have been caused by methane gas building up in the sewer system or it could have been caused by a natural gas leak, he said. Morris said tests conducted by the utility authority found high levels of methane in nearby manholes leading into the sewer system.

He said the investigation to determine the cause of the blast was just beginning.

The city owns the natural gas distribution system and the utility authority owns the sewage system.

 

News

Mississippi Governor Proclaims Confederate Heritage Month

News

Severe Weather Hits Mississippi: Two Dead, Six Injured

News

Governor Reeves Announces Federal Approval of Medicaid Reimbursement Reform

News

Picayune Man Receives 159-Month Prison Sentence for Methamphetamine Conspiracy

News

Multiple Arrests Made Following Investigations by Pearl River County Law Enforcement

News

Pearl River County Board of Supervisors Addresses Garbage Pickup and Zoning Changes

News

Picayune Street Festival Draws Crowds with 220+ Vendors and Food Trucks

News

Strawberries & Cream Festival Celebrates Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum’s History

News

Pearl River County Prepares for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

News

Mississippi Children’s Museum Expands Educational Outreach Following National Recognition

News

Pearl River County Historical Society to Host Meeting with Musical Program

News

Picayune Officer Completes FBI Firearms Instructor School

News

Judge Lumpkin Pledges Service to 15th Circuit Court District

News

Tate Reeves Announces Key Appointments in Mississippi Government

News

Picayune Carver Culture Center and SHEA Collaborate for First Health Fair to Address Health Disparities

News

Fire Departments Conduct Bus Rescue Training Session

News

Pearl River County Democrats Hold County Convention

News

Pearl River County Board of Supervisors Meeting Highlights

News

Six Former Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers Sentenced for Civil Rights Violations

News

Picayune City Council Approves Tax Abatement, Receives Legal Victory

News

Mississippi Book Festival kicks off 10th year celebration

News

Mississippi Asthma & Allergy Clinics Prepare Residents for Spring Allergy Season

News

Legislative Update from Representative Jansen Owen, Pearl River County

News

Multiple Drug Arrests Made in Pearl River County