BY KEVIN BRADY
Cause of Riverview phosphate plant explosion still under investigation
A man who was hospitalized when an acid tank exploded at a phosphate plant just off U.S. Highway 41 Nov. 23 has been released from the hospital.
The explosion occurred during routine maintenance of the empty tank at the Mosaic Company’s Riverview plant, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.
“We have yet to determine the exact cause of the incident but there appears to have been a buildup of pressure in the No. 7 sulfuric acid tank and for whatever reason, it blew a section of the tank off,” said Dave Townsend, a Mosaic spokesman.
“There was welding going on at the structure at the time,” Townsend said.
The plant was closed for scheduled maintenance at the time of the incident.
The explosion saw a lid on the tank fly 100 feet in the air with one worker hit in the chest by flying metal and another injured. The second was treated on the scene.
The cause of the explosion, which was heard by nearby homeowners in Riverview, is still under investigation.
Brandon man in boxer shorts, holding rifle, confronts worker
A Brandon area man who, clad only in boxer shorts and brandishing a rifle, confronted a maintenance worker who parked outside his mother’s home is behind bars.
Eric Holtgard, 25, of 3822 Buckingham Loop Drive, is facing two charges of aggravated assault with deadly weapon and possession of armor-piercing, 50-caliber ammunition.
It was Holtgard’s second arrest in 24 hours on firearms-related charges.
The first incident occurred Nov. 20 just after 3 p.m. when Holtgard allegedly drove and parked his vehicle in the parking lot of Rivard Buick-GMC, 9740 East Adamo Dr. in Brandon. Holtgard got out of his vehicle and began yelling at several employees and patrons who were in the parking lot of the dealership, according to a report from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
Holtgard then pulled a Glock .45 caliber from his waistband and pointed it at a patron and threatened several times he was going to kill him, according to the report. Holtgard spotted deputies pulling into the parking lot and fled in his 2006 dark-blue Scion before deputies could apprehend him. A short time later, patrol deputies conducted a traffic stop on Holtgard at Lumsden Road and Lithia Pinecrest Road where he was arrested.
During an inventory search of Holtgard’s vehicle, deputies located several loaded firearms, including an assault rifle, two handguns, ballistic plates, and ballistic ammunition.
A search of Holtgard’s Tampa Palms apartment led to the discovery of a tactical shotgun, Glock pistol and 32 magazines and ammunition. Holtgard, who has a valid Concealed Weapons permit, was then booked into Orient Road Jail until he bonded out of jail at 2 a.m. Nov. 21.
However, shortly after 11:30 a.m., a lawn maintenance man called 911 and said Holtgard, wearing only boxer shorts and carrying a rifle with a scope, came out of 3822 Buckingham Loop Dr. and began screaming at him, telling him he was not allowed to park on the curb in front of his house.
Holtgard was arrested at the scene.
Detectives also seized additional firearms, including several assault rifles from the Buckingham Loop address, which is the home of Holtgard’s mother.
Brandon area young professionals group hosting ‘Jingle Bell at the Rack’
Young Professionals of Brandon and the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce are planning the group’s annual Jingle Bell at the Rack Holiday Fest Dec. 3 at The Rack-Sushi Bar & Billiards Lounge, 1025 W. Brandon Blvd. in Brandon.
This event will include eight exclusive Bright Light sponsor exhibitors, to include Chamber and YP Brandon member businesses, as well as door prizes.
The evening benefits A Kid’s Place, a nonprofit residential group care facility that houses abused, neglected or abandoned children.
Donations are requested and include but are not limited to: 13-gallon trash bags, laundry detergent, all-purpose spray cleaner, liquid hand soap, deodorant bar soap, and shampoo.
Admission is $5 or complementary with A Kid’s Place donation.