Rain leaking into US metal plant causes explosion on contact with molten aluminium
02 March 2018
On March 1 after two days of heavy rain, water leaked into the Smelter Service Cooperation plant at Mount Pleasant, Tennessee, and came into contact with molten aluminium, causing a large explosion. Maury County Emergency Management Director Mark Blackwood confirmed one person with severe burns was taken by air ambulance to hospital, and another received minor injuries.
The explosion occurred when water from 48 hours of heavy rain leaked into the facility and made contact with molten aluminium at more than 1,200 degrees F, Blackwood said.
The blast blew out a portion of the facility’s facade and roof. The exact cause of the water leak is not yet clear.
Later in the morning parts of the facility reopened, although the furnace section is shut down until repairs are made and an investigation is complete, Blackwood said.
Smelter Service Corporation is an aluminum recycling company and employs about 90 workers. It has been in operation since since 1978.
According a report in The Daily Herald, this is not the first incident to occur at the site. In August of 2009, firefighters battled a blaze which lasted 45 minutes and destroyed much of the plant’s roof.