CHARLESTON, W.Va.-A 33-year-old man died Sept. 18 of injuries resulting from the explosion of a forklift tire at an Exxon service station in Pinch, W.Va., where he worked. The victim, John T. Williams of Quick, W.Va., was struck by air-borne portions of the wheel assembly after the tire apparently exploded as he attempted to install it on a rim.
Capt. Mike Rutherford, of the Kanawha County (W.Va.) Sheriff's Department, said Mr. Williams had inflated the tire to 100 psi and was striking it with a rubber mallet.
He was apparently attempting to seat the lock ring, according to Capt. Rutherford.
He said the tire-changing machine, over which Mr. Williams had been leaning while working on the forklift tire, was moved three feet by the force of the explosion.
Mr. Williams was taken to Charleston Area Medical Center, about 10 miles away, where he died two days later as a result of his injuries.
Tire manufacturers and other industry safety experts have repeatedly warned that tires should never be inflated to more than 40 psi during the mounting process, nor should a hammer ever be used on components of an inflated or partially inflated tire.