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Halifax man convicted of five felony charges

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South Boston NewsSouth Boston News / March 24, 2014
A leaking acetylene tank ignited by static electricity is the likely cause of an explosion Friday afternoon in Chase City that rocked the town and injured a Brodnax man who was airlifted to Richmond for hospital care.

The blast ripped out the rear part of a Ford Taurus belonging to Jimmy Valentine of Brodnax. The vehicle was parked in the front yard of a modular home in the 500 block of West Third Street when the blast occurred around 2:34 p.m. Friday. Valentine, in his 70s, was working at the time with the Third Street neighborhood rehabilitation project.

Chase City Police Chief J.A. Jordan said this week that Valentine was outside the car when the tank exploded. No one else was injured, and there was no other apparent damage from the blast.

Valentine was airlifted to VCU/MCV Hospital in Richmond. As of Saturday, Jordan said, he was listed in critical but stable condition.

Chase City police, fire and rescue rushed to the scene of the explosion Friday afternoon and roped off the blast area after securing the safety of the neighborhood. Investigators with a Virginia State Police explosives unit determined the cause of the blast, which sounded throughout town.

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