Man killed in Columbia County plant fire

30-year-old was checking fuel levels when something sparked explosion

LAKE CITY, Fla. - A 30-year-old man was killed early Monday morning in an explosion and flash fire at the Anderson Columbia Paving Company.

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office confirmed that Perry Pollard was killed in a fuel fire about 5:15 a.m. at the plant at 871 N.W. Guerdon St.

Authorities say Pollard was working on top of a fuel truck measuring diesel fuel levels when something sparked an explosion.

"Evidently, the explosion extinguished itself," said Lt. Josh Wehinger, of the Columbia County Fire Department. "Obviously, it's just the flames that ignite at the time. By the time we got here there was no fire at all."

The Fire Department, the State Fire Marshal and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were all involved in investigating the fatality. The investigation could take months.

There was no contaminant threat to the surrounding neighborhood. No other injuries were reported to other workers.

Pollard, a father of three, began working for the company in 2009.

"He was a great, caring, loving man that was for his family," friend Laura Butts said. "That's all he ever lived for was his family and friends."

"Worked every day. He put his life in here," friend Daniel Swan said. "He didn't make no money. There wasn't money in it. But it was for providing for his family."

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