Corrections Officer Burned In Oxygen Tank Explosion At Okla. County Detention Center

Tuesday, July 7th 2020, 6:36 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

A corrections officer at the Oklahoma County Detention Center suffered third degree burns in a freak accident. An oxygen bottle fell of a gurney and exploded, engulfing the officer in flames.

EMSA was bringing a gurney loaded with equipment into the jail Saturday when a bag with an oxygen bottle fell off.

“It hit the ground and exploded immediately, and I couldn’t go anywhere. I was stuck, there was a gurney here there was a wall and there was another wall right here so I couldn’t get out of the way,” Corrections Officer Bryan Cornelius said.

Cornelius, still on fire, was able to jump up onto a table. He wasn’t sure what was happening.

“You know I was really just confused. I didn’t know anything like that could happen. I was standing there then the next thing I know I was on fire and I was just glad to get away from the heat for a minute and once I noticed I was burning it was pretty excruciating pain immediately,” he said.

The white-hot flames were only burning for a few seconds, but that was enough to melt Cornelius’s shoes and give him severe burns. 

“Right now, I have third degree burns on both my feet, on my ankles, on the inside of this ankle as well.They are going to do surgery, skin graph to repair some of those burns,” Cornelius said.

“It was a tragic deal. Again, we were very fortunate the location that it happened. It happened right directly under one of our fire suppression heads. And it came on like it’s supposed to, put the flame right out,” Jail Administrator Greg Williams said.

Cornelius will have surgery Thursday. The 14-year veteran jail worker said he’s just glad no one else was hurt.

“I don’t wish it upon anybody though. I’ll tell you. The pain is excruciating. I don’t wish the pain on anybody,” he said.