The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

December 10, 2012

More blasting slated for Tuesday at high school site

By Wally Kennedy

JOPLIN, Mo. — The next episode of blasting at the construction site for the new Joplin High School is set to take place Tuesday afternoon, a spokesman for the Joplin School District said Monday.

A more specific time for that blast, however, was not available from the company, Explosive Contractors Inc., of Hollister.

Mike Johnson, who is overseeing the school district’s building effort, said he spoke Monday with workers at the site who told him they planned to blast again Tuesday afternoon. He said they could not provide him with a specific time.

The blasting is to be monitored by the Joplin Fire Department.

Efforts to reach a spokesman with Explosive Contractors for comment were unsuccessful on Friday and again on Monday.

At about 5 p.m. last Thursday, a blast to loosen rock for a storm-drain project sent rock flying off the site, causing minor damage to the vinyl siding of two homes, one on South Kentucky Avenue and the other on South Grand Avenue.

In addition, the back passenger window in a vehicle driven by Mary Myers, of Joplin, was broken out while she was traveling east on 20th Street at Kentucky Avenue. No injuries were reported.

The residents with damage to their homes said they were surprised that no one had warned property owners in the area of the construction site that a blast was being planned. Joplin fire Chief Mitch Randles said the company is not required to post notice of when a blast is expected to take place.

After the incident, Johnson said there was “a malfunction of some sort” that caused flying debris to fall northwest of the construction site.

The explosives were detonated about 100 feet east of 22nd Street and Grand Avenue, where work is proceeding on a stormwater drainage system for the site.

Johnson said the contractor is licensed and has insurance to cover losses.

Randles said the company received a permit from the Fire Department and from the state Division of Fire Safety. The permits do not spell out specific times for the blasting.

Department role

THE JOPLIN FIRE DEPARTMENT is involved to make sure the company that was issued the permit has a safe blast plan and has taken the necessary precautions to protect the public. A key element is whether explosives are stored and transported in a safe manner, Chief Mitch Randles said.