State investigation of fatal Copiah County propane explosion complete

Published 4:20 pm Tuesday, April 23, 2024

BARLOW — Four people died following a propane explosion at a Copiah County home in January 2024. The Mississippi State Fire Marshal’s Office stated they had completed their investigation of the incident Tuesday. 

“The Copiah County explosion is ruled to be ‘undetermined,’ and our investigation is complete,” the State Fire Marshal’s Office stated. “It will more than likely become a civil case.” 

SFMO states undetermined means an exact cause of the fire or explosion could not be determined because of the extent of damage. 

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Loyd Star Attendance Center student and football player Toler Jordan, 14, died along with his cousin Houston “Bubba,” Jordan, 18, who was a 2023 graduate of the Reading Nook Academy and a Brookhaven Academy football player. Calvin “Benjy,” Jordan was Bubba’s father and Toler’s uncle. He was 43 years old and his friend Jeremy Mitchell, 52, died a few days after the explosion from injuries he sustained. 

Litigation aftermath 

A lawsuit was filed against Hering Gas Company following the propane explosion due to a belief the tank was “improperly inspected.” The Daily Leader reported the propane tank was filled on Saturday night around 7 p.m. and the explosion occurred Sunday at 2 p.m. When the accident happened, the three Jordans were outside with another man — identified by Mercier as Jeremy Mitchell — and four women were inside the home. They were Benjy’s wife Mitzi, their daughter Maggie, Mitchell’s wife, and another woman.

The suit contends that Herring Gas and its employees were directly responsible for the explosion and therefore should be accountable for its consequences.