CSB Investigation Team Enters Explosion Site In Corbin, Kentucky

February 22, 2003

(Washington, DC - Feb. 22, 2003) Experts from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) today entered the site of yesterday's explosion at CTA Acoustics near Corbin, Kentucky, beginning what is expected to be a lengthy investigation into the cause of the devastating blast that seriously burned more than 10 workers.

Exiting the plant, lead investigator Bill Hoyle said "The scene inside CTA is one of damage and destruction. Electric service has been disrupted, and the interior is wet and dark. Some areas continue to smolder. Reconstructing the sequence of events that led to the explosion will be a significant undertaking."

Board Member Dr. Gerald Poje, a toxicologist, added "At this juncture, we are examining various materials used within CTA that could directly account for the explosion. In any case like this, we look to a variety of common suspects, such as flammable dust, natural gas and vapor, or a chemical interaction of some kind. Our ongoing witness interviews, forensic testing, and reviews of company inventories and safety records will begin to unravel what happened here yesterday. Meanwhile, we are greatly concerned by the impact this explosion has had on the CTA workforce and the Corbin community, and we will do whatever it takes to ensure that the safety lessons from this tragic accident are understood through the rest of the country. We appreciate the good cooperation received thus far from the company and from ATF and our other sister agencies."

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. CSB investigations look into all aspects of such events, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in safety management systems. The Board does not issue fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. Further information about the CSB is available from www.csb.gov.

Media Contacts: Daniel Horowitz (202) 261-7613 / (202) 345-4960 (cell) Sandy Gilmour (202) 251-5496 (cell)

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