Armstrong County man dies in accident after burn barrel explodes

ARMSTRONG COUNTY, Pa. — A husband and father died in a “freak” accident Tuesday.

Chris Liti described his younger brother, Mark, as healthy and active. Mark Liti loved motocross and fishing but loved his family most of all.

“He was a great family guy. He just had energy. It’s incredible,” Chris Liti said.

Mark Liti died while burning papers in a burn barrel.

“Something exploded. Something was in there. A piece had come up and [hit him in the neck] and that was it,” Chris Liti said. “I’m still in shock. At some point, I will try to put my arms around it. But, at this point, I can’t.”

Pittsburgh Fire Chief Darryl Jones called what happened to Mark a “freak accident.” But, as we enter cooler weather and backyard fire season, there are some things he suggests if you do use a burn barrel.

“You want to keep the burn barrel [...] clean,” Jones said. “Some people have burn barrels that are all rusty and almost falling on itself. I would dispose of those.”

The Liti family still doesn’t know what ignited inside the barrel that caused the explosion.

“Every day counts. Try to be there and see people because you never know. They could go away and you’ll never see them again,” Chris Liti said.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up for Mark Liti’s wife and three children.

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