WORK TRAGEDY: Police and firefighters examine the kiln which exploded killing a worker at Veolia Environmental Services.
WORK TRAGEDY: Police and firefighters examine the kiln which exploded killing a worker at Veolia Environmental Services. Michael Richards

Tributes for Mark Chapelhow after fatal kiln explosion

THE refractories project manager at Veolia Environmental Services, Mark Chapelhow, went to work yesterday morning but he will never return home after a kiln exploded at the company's South Trees Rd site.

The kiln exploded just after midday with bricks and the door flying around the worksite.

The 31-year-old from Kirkwood, was reportedly thrown back into a steel container.

An ambulance was called immediately.

Initial reports from Queensland Ambulance Service were that he was struck in the head by a bolt and had a fractured arm.

The ambulance sped to the Gladstone Hospital with a police escort but it is understood Mr Chapelhow died before reaching hospital. Workplace Health and Safety confirmed investigators were on the scene and would continue to look into the cause of the explosion and whether or not correct procedures had been followed.

Fire inspector Wayne Larken said the kiln used gas and electricity but the cause of the explosion had not been determined.

>> How the tragedy unfolded

It appears employees were sent home after the devastating incident.

Veolia released a statement late yesterday, describing the death of Mr Chapelhow as tragic.

"At this very difficult time, we will focus on supporting the family, friends and workmates of our employee," a spokesperson said.

"Given the accident is now the subject of an official investigation, Veolia is not in a position to make any further comments."

Police confirmed his next-of-kin had been notified and a report would be made for the coroner.

Mr Chapelhow worked in the Veolia refractory where furnaces are used to strengthen materials like bricks for kilns, castables to make ceramics. These products are then used in industries that use high heats, dangerous acids and slag.


TRIBUTES FLOW IN THROUGH FACEBOOK

Cinta Rose: Condolences to his family x

Rachael Needle: This is such an awful tragedy. My heart goes out to his family and friends. RIP.

Tanya M Williams: So, so sad my heart goes out to his family and fellow workers.

Debbie Schulze: Condolences to his family

Roberta Anne Burgmann: Our sympathies to the family and thoughts are with his co-workers

Tracy Flink-Rumsley: Thoughts are with all his family. Sincere condolences. R.I.P.



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