Authorities: Ignition Of UPS Explosion An Accident, But Questions Remain

May 31, 2018

Local authorities say they have no reason to expect criminal activity caused the early morning explosion at a Lexington UPS facility Wednesday, but investigators still have more tests to run before it’s ruled out.

A Lexington fire truck descends on a UPS freight facility in Lexington following an explosion Wednesday morning, May 30, 2018.
Credit Karyn Czar / WUKY

The Lexington Fire Department confirmed Thursday that the use of a propane torch at a truck maintenance bay ignited the explosion that sent eight people to the hospital, but investigators still don’t know what facilitated the blast.

Attention has focused on 45 cylinders of acetylene gas on a nearby box truck, though all were later found intact. Major Rob King with the Lexington Fire Department says the big question now is whether the canisters were leaking, and if so, why.

"The ignition from the propane tank is accidental," King told WUKY. "We don't rule out the other until we can 100 percent do that. We don't think it's criminal in nature in any way, but we still have to, through the scientific method, eliminate that as a possibility."

In addition to local fire officials, the ATF, OSHA, and the U.S. Department of Transportation have been on scene to assess the incident. UPS President David Abney reporedly spoke with those affected Wednesday night.

While King says the bulk of the investigation could wrap up as early as Friday night, the review could stretch into Monday or Tuesday of next week.