Roadside explosion kills one, cripples passing vehicles, shuts down 280

HARPERSVILLE – An explosion at a highway construction site in Harpersville on Wednesday, May 9, killed one person, damaged vehicles and a residence and forced the closure of U.S. 280.

The explosion occurred at about 7:05 a.m. near the intersection of U.S. 280 and Farmingdale Road, off the side of the eastbound lanes where a natural gas utility was installing lines, Harpersville Police Chief Jimmy Macon said.

U.S. 280 between Alabama 25 to Farmingdale Road remain closed as emergency personnel responded and the roadway was cleared.

Authorities hope to re-open one of the eastbound lanes soon, Macon said.

The explosion seems to have occurred at a storage container that was on the back of a trailer, Macon said.

A worker opening the container was killed. The victim’s name was not immediately available.

Four other workers on the scene were unharmed, but the explosion damaged three vehicle driving by the scene, Macon said. An 18-wheeler, truck and car all had to towed away after sustaining extensive damage, though their drivers were unharmed.

Macon said the explosion could be felt across the area.

“You could feel it up to a mile away because I was getting my daughter in the car at our house, and we felt it,” he said.

Residents several miles away at the time of the blast contacted authorities, Macon said.

The cause of the investigation is under investigation.

Check ShelbyCountyReporter.com for updates on this developing story.