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Airgas Recovering from Incident at Tulsa Facility


Airgas Recovering from Incident at Tulsa Facility

RADNOR, PA – August 19, 2003 -- Airgas, Inc., (NYSE: ARG) today reported that its Airgas Mid South facility in Tulsa, OK, is recovering from an explosion late yesterday afternoon. There were no reported injuries from the accident, which was centered in the outdoor cylinder storage area of the site. Buildings on the site suffered only minor damage and the branch delivery vehicles were not affected. However, four nearby structures, approximately 64 vehicles of employee and others, and up to 5,000 cylinders were affected. The company has established claim procedures for those affected by the accident.

“Our first priority was to assure the safety of our people – who were all accounted for last night – and the general safety of our community,” said Mike Duvall, president of Airgas Mid South. “We regret the inconvenience to nearby residents, businesses and commuters, and we are very grateful that there were no injuries. We want to congratulate the professionalism of the Tulsa Fire Department and other responders who helped to swiftly contain the accident.”

Duvall reported that customer deliveries were made this morning and that customers should not experience any service delays as a result of the accident. Following established emergency response plans, Airgas Mid South moved its IT operations to Oklahoma City, OK, and established extra phone lines for customers at its Broken Arrow, OK branch. While power and phone lines were interrupted, Airgas was able to restore power to the fast-fill plant and resume filling operations Tuesday afternoon, according to Duvall. The Tulsa facility, one of nearly 200 fill plants nationwide in the Airgas network, fills approximately 1,800 cylinders per day.

This week’s accident followed last month’s explosion in the Sacramento branch of Airgas Northern California & Nevada. In that incident, the branch resumed operation within 48 hours. “In both cases, Airgas people followed well rehearsed emergency response plans to assure the safety of our people and the community and to quickly restore our ability to serve customers,” noted Glenn Fischer, president and chief operating officer of Airgas, Inc. “While the two incidents happened only a month apart, they are in fact among only a few major accidents in more than two decades of Airgas history,” said Glenn Fischer, president and chief operating officer.

Fischer noted that Airgas practices vigorous safety procedures at all of its nearly 800 locations and has an excellent overall safety record. Airgas’ SAFECOR safety and compliance team has established two dozen Airgas Emergency Response Organization (AERO) teams throughout the U.S., which train regularly to respond to incidents. He noted that while the investigation into the cause will take some time, there is no clear evidence that the Sacramento and Tulsa incidents are related. A separate SAFECOR team is investigating both incidents and the emergency response plans followed to determine any potential procedural changes to enhance safe operational practices throughout Airgas’ operations.

While it is too early to specifically assess the financial impact of these incidents, based on insurance deductibles, the Company expects the maximum earnings exposure in its fiscal second quarter to be approximately $0.02 per share.

About Airgas, Inc.

Airgas, Inc. (NYSE: ARG) is the largest U.S. distributor of industrial, medical and specialty gases, welding, safety and related products. Its integrated network of nearly 800 locations includes branches, retail stores, gas fill plants, specialty gas labs, production facilities and distribution centers. Airgas also distributes its products and services through eBusiness, catalog and telesales channels. Its national scale and strong local presence offer a competitive edge to its diversified customer base. For more information, please visit www.airgas.com.

FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
This press release contains forward-looking statements about Airgas within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 or by the Securities and Exchange Commission in its rules, regulations and releases. These statements include, but are not limited to the statement regarding our maximum earnings exposure of approximately $0.02 per share in the fiscal second quarter based on insurance deductibles. Airgas intends that such forward-looking statements be subject to the safe harbors created thereby. All forward-looking statements are based on current expectations regarding important risk factors and should not be regarded as a representation by the Company or any other person that the results expressed therein will be achieved. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement include a loss of customers; and other factors described in the Company’s reports, including Form 10-K dated March 31, 2003 and Forms 10-Q dated June 30, 2003, filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
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For more information on Airgas, please visit www.airgas.com.
Contact Information

Airgas, Inc.
259 N. Radnor-Chester Road
Suite 100
Radnor, PA 19087
tel: (610) 687-5253
fax: (610) 687-1052

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