Tank explodes inside welding shop, killing one man

Tank explodes inside welding shop, killing one man

KINGS MOUNTAIN, NC (WBTV) - Investigators say a Cleveland County man was killed on Monday during an explosion at a welding shop.

According to investigators the explosion happened at the Sheppard Welding before 10:30 a.m. Monday morning. The plant is located along Bethlehem Road in southern Cleveland County.

According to family members, 69-year-old Gerald "Randy" Sheppard was killed in the explosion.  He has reportedly owned the welding shop since the 1970s.

Investigators told WBTV that Sheppard was welding on a fuel tank that had a cap on.

The tank had just been dropped off by a customer, who stepped outside to make a phone call.

That's when investigators say pressure built up and the tank exploded.  The customer was not injured in the explosion.

Sheppard's daughters told WBTV he was always very careful.

"I never thought that would happen, he was always an avid fisherman so we worried about him when he went out on the lake fishing and all that but this totally shocked me," said Sheppard's daughter, Sandy Surver.

"He was a great father, great grandfather, we knew he was there if we needed him for anything," said Sharon White.

Neighbors told WBTV that they heard a loud boom and then saw smoke coming from the shop when they came outside.

The Bethlehem Volunteer Fire Department was the first set of emergency responders on scene. The incident will be investigated by the Cleveland County Fire Marshal.

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