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Redhook Employee Killed in Keg Explosion

Hospital confirms brewery worker died this morning after suffering injuries from a keg that exploded in his face.

PORTSMOUTH, NH – A hospital spokeswoman confirmed just after noon Tuesday that the Redhook worker who was injured when a beer keg exploded in his face has died.

Portsmouth Regional Hospital spokeswoman Nancy Notis could not provide any other details about the Redhook worker's death, only that he succumbed to his injuries sometime after he was transported to the hospital by Portsmouth firefighters.

The employee has been identified as .

Andy Thomas, Redhook's president of commercial operations, issued the following statement on the tragedy shortly before 2 p.m. Tuesday:

"We are saddened by the tragic event that occurred at the Portsmouth brewery this morning resulting in the death of one of our employees. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family.

We are doing everything in our power to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragic accident, and have closed down all non-essential operations at the Portsmouth brewery, including the pub, while the investigation continues.

We believe it would not be appropriate to comment further until the investigation is concluded. Our sympathy is with his family and everyone touched by the tragedy."

Many people have already offering prayers for Harris and his family.

"Our thoughts and Prayers are with you all," one person said.

"Thinking about the entire Red Hook family," said another.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened an inspection following today's incident, according to Ted Fitzgerald, a spokesman for the agency.

"The purpose of OSHA's inspection is to determine which workplace safety standards apply in this situation and whether or not the employer complied with those standards," Fitzgerald said in an email. "If the inspection determines there were violations, OSHA could issue citations to and propose fines for the employer."

He said OSHA will have nothing further to say until its inspection is complete, and it is too early to estimate when that might be.

UPDATE, 8:45 A.M.: A Redhook Ale Brewery worker suffered serious, life threatening injuries Tuesday morning after a beer keg exploded in his face.

Portsmouth Fire Capt. Mike Hogan said firefighters and EMTs responded to Redhook's facility at Pease International Tradeport around 7 a.m. and found a worker in the distribution area who had sustained some traumatic injuries.

Hogan could not say how the accident occurred, but said it happened in the area of Redhook's distribution facility where beer kegs are shipped.

Hogan said Portsmouth Fire/Rescue transported the Redhook worker to Portsmouth Regional Hospital.

According to emergency communitications, federal OSHA inspectors were headed to Redhook to investigate the incident. When contacted this morning, Ted Lane, a Redhook spokesman, declined to make any comment about the incident until Redhook officials could gather more information about what happened.

Redhook said in a tweet at 11:01 a.m. today that the Cataqua Pub at the Portsmouth location will be closed today, and all brewery tours have been cancelled.

An earlier story follows:

An employee at Redhook brewery in Portsmouth was critically injured this morning when a beer keg exploded on him.

According to emergency radio broadcasts, emergency crews were called to the brewery at 1 Redhook Way around 7:30 a.m. Initial reports were that the man suffered a serious facial injury.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been notified of the incident, which is considered an industrial accident.

Janine Iamunno April 24, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Awful.
debie d April 24, 2012 at 05:33 PM
thats just crazy! What a way to die. Odd.
Escalonz April 24, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Only thing I can think of is that the keg was excessively bounced and shaken ed during transit and like a soda pop bottle will fill up with internal pressure. Someone explain how that works like how and why the gas forms?
cjl April 24, 2012 at 05:43 PM
From the photo it looks like they store some of the smaller kegs up high,maybe they should store them on the floor so its not at eye level if it explodes.LAWSUIT????!!!!
Bill Ferguson April 24, 2012 at 06:24 PM
As tempting as this article may be for some to make light I hope respect for this man is maintained. He works in an American factory and I am confident he was proud of his job. So, here's to to the American worker.
Tim W. April 24, 2012 at 06:54 PM
I don't know how this could've happened but i do know the PSI had to be extreamly high because those things can withstand major beatings without any problems although it could have been a faulty container too
greg j. April 24, 2012 at 06:56 PM
wow, is all I can say. I've handled many barrels in my day and have only gotten unwanted beer showers. One thing I do know is the pressure inside is emmence. One time delivering two kegs on a wheeler I tripped and rode the kegs and wheeler down the stairs head first and I'm thankful nothing exploded. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. RIP beer dude
FreeRadical April 24, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Bill, your cynicism is unwelcome at this point. The few posts here more appropriate than you're preemptive criticism.
Ed Sorrels April 24, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Yes, But they have a pressure relief valve Which should have blown first. All most all pressure vessels have one as required by law which will allow the pressure to vent to the atmosphere.
frankc354 April 24, 2012 at 07:16 PM
just goes to show that you never know when your time is up,poor guy goes to work and dies there,a sad way to go R.I.P blessings to all your friends and family
cldchasr2 April 24, 2012 at 07:46 PM
FreeRadical, please take a second look at Bill's comment. I don't believe Bill was being "preemptively cynical". On the contrary, I understood his comment to be written in good faith. I think he was honoring American factory workers who already are suffering so greatly by the loss of their good paying manufacturing jobs through outsourcing.
Jerry Patte April 24, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Drinking 1 For you Beer Dude RIP.
BRIAN April 24, 2012 at 10:58 PM
I AM A BREWERY WORKER IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WHO DOES A VERY SIMILAR JOB TO THIS MAN. I AM DEVASTATED BY THIS TRAGIC CATASTROPHE. AND I SEE A THOUSAND WAYS THAT THIS COULD HAVE HAPPENED. CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF BREWERY WORKERS ARE SMART PEOPLE WHO WORK UNDER WELL REGIMENTED, STANDARDIZED, AND PRIORITIZED CONDITIONS. MICROSTAR IS MY FIRST SUSPECT. THIS COMPANY MAKES AND RENTS MOST KEGS USED IN THE AMERICAN BREWERY SYSTEM TODAY. FACT: THEY HAVE NO INSPECTION SYSTEM ON THERE KEGS BEFORE THEY ARE SENT TO BREWERIES TO BE USED. THE KEGS JUST RECIRCULATE THROUGH BREWERIES. MICROSTAR GETS A BRAN NEW KEG SENDS IT TO BREWERIES, THEY FILL IT AND SEND IT TO DISTRIBUTORS, DISTRIBUTORS SEND THEM TO BARS BARS USE THEM AND SEND THEM BACK TO DISTRIBUTERS EMPTY, THEN THEY ARE SENT BACK TO BREWERIES TO RESTART THE CYCLE. THE BREWERY CLEANS THEM, FILLS THEM AND SENDS THEM BACK TO MICROSTAR IF THE FIND THEM DEFECTIVE. MAYBE IN THIS CASE IT WAS A FATAL DEFECT THAT COULD HAVE BEEN DETECTED IF MICROSTAR RECEIVED THE KEGS FROM THE DISTRIBUTOR TO BE TESTED UNDER A SAFE ENVIRONMENT BY A MACHINE DESIGNED TO DETECT FLAWS AND FAILURES IN THE INFRASTRUCTURE OF THE KEG, BEFORE IT WAS SENT TO RED HOOK. THIS COULD HAVE HAPPENED TO ME, THIS NEEDS TO BE A BIG ISSUE, WE NEED A BREWERY WORKERS UNION, IT IS HAZARDOUS WORK. I DON'T KNOW WHO YOU ARE BUT MY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE DEDICATED TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY . BREWERY WORKERS WE LOST A BROTHER TODAY, RIP.
peter April 25, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Keg might have been overfilled at the brewery. Old kegs had wooden bungs that would blow first. Maybe the new ones have a pressure release valve. An accident like this should have never happened. Defective stainless steel beer keg is the probable cause.
Bill Ferguson April 25, 2012 at 02:14 AM
To Brian: Thank you for comprehensively following up on my earlier comment. I am completely behind you when you state there should be a standard of care when reusing these beer kegs. Think about how stringent the regulations are regarding scuba tanks during their required testing prior to being refilled. It should further be realized that bar personnel are also exposed to keg bursting hazards as are some private homes (mine). Should you launch a petition I will be the first to sign. Good luck, brother.
Rocky Sheridan April 25, 2012 at 06:19 AM
We had a Keg Explosion when I was in college once.The keg had been in back of our truck for most of the day,and we were at one point in a high speed chase through the mountains with it rolling around,hiting the sides of the bedliner.We then dropped the keg upon unloading it.When it finally got tapped,after been dropped down the stairs,and various other disasters,it explded,impaling the spout in the new color TV,and showering a $2000 stereo and speaker set w/tvstereo set.What didn't get damaged with impact was shorted out by the beer itself.Also destroyed were the curtains behind it,along with the front window and the entertainment center,and the blast broke two fingers of the guy uploading the keg.Other than that,there wasn't too much of a problem,and it all pales in comparison to croaking after a redhook explosion..
DON ORLOSKY April 25, 2012 at 09:13 AM
I LOST MY BROTHER IN MAY OF 1971 WHEN AKEG BLEW UP AND KILED HIM, HIS WIFE HAD A BEAUTIFUL BABY GIRL A WEEK LATER WITH OUT HER FATHER
Ms. Angel Baasch April 26, 2012 at 06:11 AM
May GodBlessHisDearlyDepartedSoul,Ms Angel Baasch & Sons...The above comments are all worthy,thank you also fir information I did not know..

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