Prison Officer In Serious Condition After HMP Gas Explosion by R. Wilson
A Basic Grade Officer at Her Majesty’s Prison is in serious condition after he was caught full force in a propane gas explosion at the jail. According to a prison official, early Tuesday morning (May 12) Rocston “Rocky” Johnson of Shadwell was attempting to help in the delivery of LPG gas at the prison kitchen. Johnson was the officer in charge of the kitchen and food preparation at HMP and had regularly overseen the delivery of gas. That fateful morning the Sol gas delivery truck, which normally has two employees onboard, turned up to the prison with only the driver. According to the HMP official, the workers normally park on the small road to the west of the prison wall, and pass the hose over the tall wall. One employee would stay at the truck to monitor the gauge while the other would go into the prison and attach and detach the hose to the gas tanks. That morning, Johnson made the connection. The Observer was told that the gas tanks were separated from the stove inside the kitchen by a wall. There appeared to have been a leak while the gas was being pumped into the tanks, which was ignited by the lit stoves inside as staff was preparing prisoners’ breakfasts. The fireball from the explosion could be seen above the high prison wall. Prison staff extinguished the blaze before Fire and rescue arrived. No one else was injured in the blast. The Observer understands Johnson’s burns were so severe that all facial hair and skin were burnt off, as was the skin on his upper extremities. The prison officer was conscious when he arrived at the hospital although visitation was limited. One person who went to the hospital to see the 36-year-old father of a months-old toddler said, “If I did not know it was Rocky, I would not have recognized him. “He was fighting for his life. He was burnt right up; first degree burns. His life was changed in a split second. He could never be the same again.” The Observer understands that persons from the Ministry responsible for HMP met with Johnson’s family soon after the accident to discuss the possibility of airlifting him out of St. Kitts for specialized medical treatment overseas. “Rocky can’t stay at JNF; they are not equipped to deal with the level of his burns. He is raw, the skin is gone. They need to fly him out to a burn treatment center before it is too late,” a coworker told this media house. Meanwhile Sol has not made any public statement on the incident.