Area man critical after gas explosion

PARKERSBURG – A Parkersburg man was critically burned late Friday night in south Parkersburg.

Brian Neal Lockhart, 41, of Parkersburg, was listed in critical condition Saturday at the Cabell-Huntington Hospital Burn Unit, said Sgt. Greg Collins with the Parkersburg Police Department.

“He is in critical condition with burns on 85 percent of his body. His injuries are life threatening,” Collins reported Saturday afternoon.

Collins said numerous units responded about 11 p.m. Friday to a report of a man on fire at 1403 Ridgeway Ave. in south Parkersburg.

Once on scene, officers discovered that Lockhart and several other subjects had been sitting around a fire with a gasoline can nearby. Lockhart reportedly noticed the gas can was swelling from the heat and attempted to move it. While moving it, the can exploded catching Lockhart on fire. He attempted to extinguish the fire by rolling on the ground, eventually rolling down a hill into a heavily wooded area.

Rescuers were able to extinguish the fire after reaching him. First responders were forced to use a long rope and backboard to stabilize Lockhart and pull him back up the hill, Collins said.

While officials were helping Lockhart, several people at the residence allegedly became disorderly with first responders by screaming and cursing at them, also physically interfering with the rescue effort.

Officers arrested Joseph Anthony Sams, 20, of 1403 Ridgeway Ave., Parkersburg, on a charge of obstructing. A criminal complaint filed in Wood County Magistrate Court by Patrolman J.N. Dennison alleges that Sams was advised several times to stay out of the way and go inside his residence. Sams stated “It was his (expletive) property and he was not going inside.”

Lockhart was transported to Erickson All-Sports Facility and flown by emergency medical helicopter to Cabell-Huntington.

Sams was processed at police headquarters and was arraigned Saturday morning in Wood County Magistrate Court, where he was released on bond.

Alcohol appears to be a factor in the accident, Collins said.