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Paint factory explosion kills one and injures eight in US, causes $1m in damage

12 April 2021

An explosion at a paint plant in Columbus, Ohio on April 8 killed one person and injured eight others, including two critically. The blast happened at a facility belonging to the Yenkin-Majestic Paint Corp., a family-owned coatings manufacturer.

Image: Columbus Division of Fire
Image: Columbus Division of Fire

The City of Columbus did not order an evacuation of the local area, however several residents leaving nearby self-evacuated as a precaution. The Columbus Division of Fire said in a statement that it was called to the scene at 12:05 local time where they were met by employees exiting the building. Five of the employees were injured and transported to hospital. Two other employees were trapped inside the building and had to be extricated. Both were taken to hospital in critical conditions. One employee remained unaccounted for as firefighters continued to battle the blaze. The employee was later found deceased at around 09:00 local time. 

In total, around 100 firefighters were called to the scene to assist in fighting the fire. On April 9, Columbus fire department said that the eight employees’ conditions remained unchanged but added that they were stable.

The cause of the blast remains unknown, and an investigation has begun.

The US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) said that two of its investigators had visited the scene in Columbus and that it would be coordinating its activities with OSHA. The health and safety watchdog added that it would be moving forward with scheduling interviews with facility employees and management.

In its first update on the incident, the CSB said it could confirm that a fire and explosion had occurred at Yenkin-Majestic. The company manufactures and markets industrial coatings that include acrylics, alkyds, coil and powder coatings, epoxies, primers, and urethanes. The incident occurred in the OPC Polymers unit at the facility where 21 employees were reported to have been working at the time of the explosion.

The CSB said the incident resulted in substantial property damage, estimated to be more than $1 million. A building in the OPC Polymer unit collapsed as a result of the blast. Materials stored onsite include maleic anhydride, phthalic anhydride, xylene, and mineral spirits. The company has not yet provided the quantities of the material at the facility at the time of the incident.

The OPC Polymer unit was engaged in normal operations at the time of the incident, the CSB added, and the material being produced was manufactured in a batch process. The OPC Polymer unit operates in a 24/7 operation and the site includes an adjacent paint manufacturing unit that operates 4/10 operation. The facility is covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Process Safety Management (PSM) regulation due to the flammable liquids stored at the facility.

At 12:05 a.m. Columbus Fire dispatchers received a report of an explosion at 1920 Leonard Ave at a paint manufacturing...

Posted by Columbus Division of Fire on Thursday, 8 April 2021

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