2 dead in Jasper County explosion; cause under investigation

cconley@islandpacket.comJuly 22, 2013 

Two people died Monday evening in an explosion at a home on Cohen Road in Jasper County.

County Coroner Martin Sauls said the men were declared dead at the scene following an explosion shortly before 6 p.m. The cause, he said, appears to be third-degree burns "over the entire body."

The identities of the men were being withheld pending positive identification, he said. Autopsies were scheduled for Tuesday or Wednesday at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

The cause of the explosion was still unclear Tuesday morning, although the two men appear to have been working in the garage shortly before the explosion.

"I think somebody was drilling a hole someplace with a drill and sparks flew, and it ignited some flammable liquid," Sauls said, adding that the explosion resulted in a large fire.

Roy Hughes, chief deputy of the Jasper County Sheriff's Office, said the accident occurred at 872 Cohen Road.

"Basically the fire department is looking at the whole situation right now," Hughes said Tuesday. "But we know there was some accidental spark or something that caused the explosion and fire in the garage area."

The S.C. Law Enforcement Division is assisting in the investigation. Hughes said there is no indication that the incident was anything other than an accident.

The autopsy results are expected later this week.

The home is in a rural section of Jasper County near the intersection of Cohen Road and Calf Pen Bay Road about 15 miles northwest of Ridgeland.

Follow reporter Casey Conley at twitter.com/IPBG_Casey. Reporter Sarah Bowman contributed to this report; follow her at twitter.com/IPBG_Sarah.

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