UPDATE: Worker severely burned from acetylene fire - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

UPDATE: Worker severely burned from acetylene fire

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PASCO, Wash. - UPDATE: An update tonight on a Pasco man who was burned on the job Thursday morning.

Employees at Oxarc say Jacob Forsness is doing well at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

He suffered first and second degree burns to his upper body yesterday.

Forsness was cleaning out bottles that previously held a highly flammable gas when they ignited.

Investigators think static electricity caused the explosion.

PASCO, Wash. - A man is in the hospital after he was badly burned in a fire involving chemical tanks.

Fire officials say the Oxarc employee was cleaning a pallet of empty bottles which used to hold acetylene, a highly flammable gas. One of the bottles sparked, causing all the bottles to ignite, severely burning the man's upper body.

It happened around one this morning at the Pasco facility on South Oregon Street.

The man was air-lifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, but his name was not released.

Pasco Fire Chief Bob Gear says the spark was likely ignited by static electricity but is still under investigation.

"When you got flammable gas all around you when you spark, which is essentially what it looks like he may have done, took a piece of metal and went to open a valve, and it touched metal to metal..metal on the tank and metal on the handle, and it caused a spark which was enough to ignite the acetylene," Gear said.