EXCLUSIVES
FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+RSS Feed
Fire EMSEMS TodayEMS Insider

Kentucky Chemical Plant Blast Kills Two Workers

jems0323pic1

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Two explosions rocked a chemical plant and threw debris hundreds of yards from a burning building, killing two workers and injuring two others, officials said Tuesday.

Firefighters planned to let the fire burn itself, and officials said the air quality was not a threat to nearby residents. The initial explosion occurred Monday night at the Carbide Industries plant and was followed by another blast a few hours later, though no one was injured in the later explosion, said Doug Hamilton, the city's emergency management director.

Two other plant employees were treated and released from a hospital.

The workers who died were longtime employees who worked in the furnace department where the explosion occurred, said plant general manager John Gant. Jorge Medina, 56, of Louisville, died at University Hospital early Tuesday morning with third-degree burns over 90 percent of his body. An autopsy is planned for Steven Nicholas, 59, of Charlestown, Ind., who died Monday.

About 130 plant employees are out of work now, and Gant said he does not know when they will return.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board said it was sending a team to the plant Wednesday to investigate.

Located along the Ohio River in West Louisville, the plant is part of a petrochemical complex dubbed Rubbertown. It makes calcium carbide products, which are used in metal fabrication and construction.

The initial explosion occurred around 5:40 p.m. Monday and involved calcium-carbide _ a flammable compound that combined with water produces unstable acetylene gas, Hamilton said. The second explosion happened when one of three transformers that contained mineral oil above the original blast caught fire, officials said.

A nearby ambient air monitoring system detected "elevated particle levels" Monday night, which amounted to soot, but the levels returned to normal by Tuesday morning, said Matt Stull, spokesman for the Air Pollution Control District.

"It's going to be a concern to anyone who has a breathing problem," Stull said.

There was confusion between officials about who was responsible for notifying the public. Gant said Carbide Industries failed to notify authorities within 30 minutes of the explosion. Hamilton arrived at the scene and deemed the air quality was safe, but Louisville police asked the National Weather Service to send an alert advising residents to stay indoors for a few hours.

Chief Robert White said the Louisville police department was trying to protect the public.

"Let's not be too critical because people were overly cautious," White said.

Hamilton said the city will take immediate charge of public notification.
 



RELATED ARTICLES

Collapse Causes Evacuation at Puerto Rico Condominium

Nearly two dozen people are displaced after a water tank collapsed through the roof.

Car Hits Wall at LAX Critically Injuring Girl

9-year old girl was critically injured when a car struck her and then a wall at Los Angeles International Airport.

More Bodies Recovered from Texas Flood

At least 28 killed nationwide due to storms.

Secretary of State Suffers Fractured Femur in Bicycle Crash

Paramedics and a physician were on hand as part of the motorcade.

10 Injured in Manhattan Crane Load Collapse

Air-conditioning unit broke free and fell 28-stories onto Madison Avenue.

Wisconsin City Council Turns Over EMS to Hospital

Vote in Platteville transfers control of EMS to Southwest health Center.

Features by Topic

Featured Careers

 

JEMS TV

FEATURED VIDEO TOPICS

Learn about new products and innovations featured at EMS Today 2015

 

JEMS Connect

CURRENT DISCUSSIONS

 
 

EMS BLOGS

Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts