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Official blames fish dust for explosion at Alaska seafood plant

22 September 2016

According to Alaska Dispatch News, a seafood processing facility in Dutch Harbor was severely damaged by an explosion on 22 September which a public safety official said was likely caused by the ignition of fine fish-meal dust. There were employees inside the building at the time of the explosion, but no injuries were reported. 

Dutch Harbor on the island of Unalaska, Aleutian Islands
Dutch Harbor on the island of Unalaska, Aleutian Islands

Mike Holman, director of Unalaska's Department of Public Safety, said the blast occurred inside the Westward Seafoods plant in Dutch Harbor, probably caused by an undetermined ignition source detonating dust from the production of fish meal, often used as feed for other fish.

Holman said the exact cause of the blast was still undetermined and an investigation would take place to find the cause. He said he had seen two other fish-meal dust explosions at Dutch Harbor plants during his 21 years with the department.

The plant's sprinkler system extinguished the resulting fire before crews arrived but contributed to damage estimates well beyond $100,000.


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