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Victims in fatal Barbour County explosion identified

ARDEN, W.Va. — A representative with the Department of Labor confirmed Tuesday morning the identities of the two men who died in an industrial explosion in Barbour County last Wednesday.

The victims are Midland Resources Recovery (MRR) President Jan Strmen, 72, of Canada, and employee Justin Marsh, 19, of Philippi.

Just after 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 24, an explosion at MRR’s tank decommission site on Rt. 119 in Barbour County killed two and injured a third person. The three were decommissioning an odorant tank when the explosion occurred. It remains unknown whether the tank exploded from the inside or the outside.

Strmen is listed as the President of Midland Resource Recovery, a company that specializes in odorants to provide smell to natural gas.

Marsh, originally from Clarksburg and now living in Philippi, was an employee of the company, according to his Facebook page.

The third person’s identity remains undisclosed, but he was believed to be out-of-surgery late in the evening the same day of the explosion at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown.

Investigating agencies include the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office, the West Virginia State Police, the Barbour County Sheriff’s Office, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Department of Environmental Protection, and the U.S. Chemical Board.

Investigations are being coordinated by the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office.

A representative at Midland Resource Recovery’s Canadian office declined to offer a comment.

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