KNOXVILLE - Brunswick Auto Repair lost a longtime mechanic Wednesday after an explosion at the shop.
Brian Alan Snoots, 39, died after an industrial tractor tire exploded, according to Maryland State Police.
Police and emergency responders were called at about 8:30 a.m.
Ten minutes later, Snoots was pronounced dead at the shop on Souder Road, state police said in a news release.
On Wednesday afternoon, family and friends gathered at his home in Knoxville, where Snoots would sometimes work on his own vehicle.
The Brunswick High School graduate had an affection for Chevrolet trucks, said his sister, Deanna Snoots-Bauer.
"He's been working on cars since he was a young boy," Snoots-Bauer said. "He's always tinkered on cars, and he always wanted to be a mechanic."
At age 15, Snoots began a work study program at Brunswick Auto Repair, where he was later hired as a full-time mechanic, shop owner Darren Mullen said. Working at the shop meant that Snoots never came home with clean hands, the family recalled Wednesday.
"He was just like a son to me," Mullen said Wednesday at Snoots' house. "He put his heart into everything."
Mullen said there are only four workers at his shop, and Snoots was one of the most loyal mechanics he had.
"He was very good at what he (did)," said Darren's wife, Lisa Mullen.
On Wednesday, the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health Department and a forensics investigator from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner were contacted and arrived to conduct an inquiry into Snoots' death.
The investigation is ongoing and no charges have been filed, state police said.
Mechanics are more likely than the average worker to be injured or killed on the job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. From 2003 to 2005, 147 mechanics were killed on the job.
There were 71 fatal occupational injuries in Maryland in 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As Snoots' death was being investigated Wednesday, his family mourned him. Snoots loved trucks and fixing cars. He also enjoyed racing trucks in the mud in an off-road sport known as mud bogging, his sister said.
"He is going to be greatly missed by our family," Snoots-Bauer said, crying. "Our lives will never be the same again."
Staff writer Danielle E. Gaines contributed to this report.
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