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McKinney Brewmaster Calls Mishap A Freak Accident

By Susy Solis, CBS 11 News
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image004 1 McKinney Brewmaster Calls Mishap A Freak Accident

McKinney fire fighters stand outside the Franconia Brewery on Feb. 18 following an explosion that injured two employees. (Credit: First Response Photography Facebook)

MCKINNEY (CBSDFW.COM) – Brewmaster Dennis Wehrmann said the mishap at his brewery Saturday that hospitalized two people was nothing more than a freak accident.

“Everybody who was here is still in shock,” Wehrmann said as he examined the damage Monday.

Franconia Brewery was hosting about 100 people for a tour of its facility when a loud noise echoed throughout the building. It was orginally thought to be an explosion, but Wehrman said that wasn’t the case.

What visitors heard was a valve popping off a 900 gallon beer fermenter.

Beer burst out of the tank with such force that one of the legs holding the tank broke, causing it to topple over and collapse through a metal wall and jut into an adjoining room.

The cause of the malfunction is unknown and the McKinney Fire Department is investigating.

The tour group had just passed through the room where the tank came to a halt. Wehrmann said things could have ended much worse had the room not been cleared just five minutes before.

Two people stayed behind and were injured in the incident. One woman was hospitalized, mostly from shock, according to Wehrmann.

A man was hit by a beer cooler that was in the tank’s path as it fell through the wall. He was hospitalized with a broken rib, but Wehrmann said he is out of the hospital and is doing well.

Wehrmann, who comes from a family of beer makers, said this is a first for him.

“I have seen some really weird things happening in the brewery but I have never seen a tank moving like that out of its spot through a wall,” he said.

The brewery is out of service for the time being and hopes to be operational within the next few days but Wehrmann says all-access tours of the brewery will be a thing of the past.

“I think we are going to rethink and reconsider our program of the tours,” he said,.

Franconia Brewery distributes five types of beer throughout Texas.

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