Father of Kilgore explosion victim: 'God knows best' - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Father of Kilgore explosion victim: 'God knows best'

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The Saturday explosion at Kilgore Flares in Toone, Tenn. killed 41-year-old Michael Chism, who was working at the plant. The Saturday explosion at Kilgore Flares in Toone, Tenn. killed 41-year-old Michael Chism, who was working at the plant.
The first explosion at the Kilgore Flares plant occurred at 10:50 a.m. Saturday. A second explosion followed later in the evening. The first explosion at the Kilgore Flares plant occurred at 10:50 a.m. Saturday. A second explosion followed later in the evening.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - The Saturday explosion at Kilgore Flares in Toone, Tenn. killed 41-year-old Michael Chism, who was working at the plant.

The father of five died Monday night. About 90 percent of his body was covered in burns from the first explosion that happened at the plant around 10:50 a.m. on February 22.

Michael's father, Arthur, tried to hold back tears as he shared his memories with Action News 5's Justin Hanson.

"Great, great guy, friend, son," said Arthur. "I can't describe it, you know? God knows best."

"He was just a great person," added Michael's cousin, Soprina Jennings. "And he will be truly missed."

Michael's family says he was not only proud of the work he did at the Kilgore plant, but also the work he did throughout the community.

"Charity work, cut grass for free, coached Little League baseball, took time out for the kids to play ball," explained Arthur. "After all his work, he'd coach. I really can't describe him."

"It's gonna be hard, gonna be tough for the family and his friends," said Jennings. "Everybody loved him. He loved his kids, his wife, he loved everybody."

In addition to his five kids, Chism also leaves behind his mother, father, a brother, and a sister.

The Chism family is asking for prayers.

"This is a sad time," said Jennings. "We gotta be strong. God doesn't make mistakes."

"The Chisms are a wonderful family around here," said Hardeman County Sheriff John Doolen. "Matter of fact, his father is a reserved deputy, so it hits home."

Funeral arrangements for Michael Chism have not yet been finalized.

The investigation

Federal investigators were back at the explosion site Tuesday. ATF began its investigation, but said it will be a few more days before it announces what caused the blast.

Newly released photos of the scene show ATF agents combing through the burned out property.

Action News 5's Justin Hanson dug into WMC-TV5's archives to find reports done in September 2010 when a flash fire injured several workers and killed employee Erica Jarrett.

After that fire, the state fined Kilgore Flares, but the company is contesting those findings.

Michael Chism's death brings the total number of employees killed on the property to six since 1993.

While Kilgore Flares remains one of Hardeman County's largest employers, residents in Toone, Tenn. say they live in fear knowing that more explosions could happen at any time.

Since the explosions Saturday, Kilgore released a statement that said it is cooperating with investigators and that hearts go out to Chism's family.

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