Tyler Welders Supply open for business following fire and explosions on Tuesday afternoon

Published on Wednesday, 14 June 2017 18:53 - Written by LOUANNA CAMPBELL, lcampbell@tylerpaper.com

Tyler Welders Supply was open for business Wednesday, a day after multiple explosions at an acetylene storage area in the rear of the business. 

The business, in the 3500 block of U.S. Highway 271, and a half-mile radius around it had been under an evacuation order until 9 a.m. Wednesday as a result of the explosions that sent fire and plumes of thick, black smoke billowing into the air about 2:15 p.m. Tuesday. 

The area where the fire originated remained taped off on Wednesday, as canisters in the area of origin were still burning. Acetylene is the most common gas used for fueling cutting torches in both general industry and the mining industry, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. 

Smith County Emergency Services District #2 officials remained on scene Wednesday and planed to stay through the night to watch for any further hazards.

"We will begin the investigation into the cause of the fire on Thursday," Smith County Fire Marshal Connie McCoy-Wasson. 

More than 20 employees were on site at the time of the explosion, but all were evacuated with no reported injuries. 

Tyler Welders Supply has stores in Longview, Henderson, Paris, Sulpher Springs and Shreveport.

The Tyler store is one of two acetylene plants in Texas according to owner Melvin Ruyle, who said he recently stepped down as the CEO allowing his son Ronnie to take over the business. 

This isn't the first time an incident like this has occurred in the state. A similar explosion occurred almost 10 years ago at Southwest Industrial Gases Inc, a welding gas distribution facility in Dallas, whose president at the time of the explosion was Melvin Ruyle. 

Federal regulators fined the company $6,300 in connection with the July 2007 acetylene gas explosion, which injured three people. 

The government citations didn't conclude that the violations caused the blast, but the citations indicated the company exposed workers to serious hazards that were likely to cause death or serious physical harm, The Dallas Morning News reported at the time.