Missouri aluminium plant explosion injures 33
05 August 2015
A large explosion at a southeast Missouri aluminium plant has injured 33, according to local news sources. The blast and fire sent a large plume of smoke above the Noranda Aluminum plant near the town of Marston in New Madrid County, about 170 miles south of St. Louis. The south wall of one of the facility’s buildings was almost completely blown off, with further damage caused to the roof.
Noranda spokesman John Parker said the company has accounted for all employees and that there were no fatalities or critical injuries. Some people suffered what appeared to be non-critical burns and smoke inhalation, he said.
Parker said the blast was a molten metal explosion in the cast house of the plant, which employs about 900 workers. He said 20 people were working in the area when the blast happened.
Rhonda Burke of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) office in St. Louis said one worker was treated for smoke inhalation and 32 for eye and throat irritation, including some for ringing of the ears.
"OSHA is on scene and will conduct a thorough investigation at Noranda Aluminum facility to see if any violations of safety procedures contributed to this tragic incident," said David Keim, OSHA's assistant area director in St. Louis.
OSHA also reported it opened an investigation at Noranda on June 30 after the company reported a worker suffered second- and third-degree burns in an incident at the facility.
The cause of the explosion is under investigation.