Family of gas company ‘Snag Man’ relieved after surviving fire

Posted on: 7:04 pm, February 20, 2013, by

EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. — A Missouri Gas Energy worker is among those who survived the Country Club Plaza Fire on Tuesday night.

He’d responded to a report of a gas leak, and was on the scene at the time of the explosion. Family members say he’s still being treated at St. Luke’s Hospital.

They call him “a snag man.” Mike Palier’s family have seen him dispatched as a first-response worker for m-g-e for the better part of 30 years. Now, they’re watching him being treated for injuries he received during last night’s sudden blast on the Plaza.

“I  couldn’t get an answer on his cell phone, and I’m looking at the television at this huge fire,” Cara Palier said, while recalling the anguish she experienced on Tuesday night.

She knows her husband is fortunate to be alive. Mike Palier has worked full-time for MGE  for 28 years, getting the first call anytime gas leaks are reported. She says her heart sank while watching news coverage of the gas explosion on the Country Club Plaza.

“I could actually see his truck (on television.) I just kind of sank down into the chair. You can’t do much other than that.”

Mike is still alive, and receiving care for some serious injuries.  Cara says he suffered blast force injuries and he’s heavily sedated while doctors treat him for injuries to his face, neck, eardrum and jaw.

“When someone has a job like this, everyday they leave the house, you wonder if they’re going to come home. Last night was the first night he didn’t get to come home,” Cara Palier said.

The Paliers are co-owners of the Atlas Saloon, a popular watering hole in Excelsior Springs. Photos behind the bar show Mike’s personality, and his loved ones are keeping him close to their hearts.

“Mike is an outgoing personality,” Rhonda Cremeans said while tending bar at the saloon.

“He calls me his ‘little yankee girl,’ since i’m from Michigan. He’s just outgoing. Everyone that comes in here wants to know when he’ll be in so they can sit and talk with him and listen to his stories.”

“I am so grateful that he’s still here and he’s still breathing. It could be a lot worse. I know it’s a lot worse for some people, and my prayers are with them. My prayers are with them and I hope everyone else’s are too,” Cara Palier said.

Cara Palier also tells me Mike’s doctors are treating him for swelling in his skull, and they can’t treat his other injuries until it goes down. She and the others at the Atlas Saloon describe him as “a big tough strong guy,” and they’re praying for his quick recovery.

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