(Washington, DC, April 11, 2003) The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board is deploying a team of investigators to conduct a preliminary inquiry into the explosion and ammonia gas release at the D.D. Williamson & Co. food additive manufacturing plant in Louisville, KY.
Chairman Carolyn Merritt announced that investigators David Heller and Randy McClure will arrive in Louisville Saturday, April 12, to begin the inquiry, which could lead the CSB to decide to conduct a full investigation.
The explosion occurred early this morning at the plant, which produced caramel coloring. Press reports described a "violent explosion" which ripped through the plant where five people were reportedly working. One worker was reported missing.
Local fire officials said potentially lethal ammonia escaped from a 40,000 pound tank and forced the evacuation of residents near the plant. The CSB is an independent federal agency whose mission is to prevent industrial chemical accidents, save lives and protect the environment. The CSB investigates incidents and hazards, determines root causes of accidents, and issues safety recommendations to industry, labor, trade associations, professional organizations and federal and state agencies such as OSHA and EPA.
For more information contact:
Sandy Gilmour Communications (Cell) 202-251-5496
Daniel Horowitz, CSB Special Assistant to the Board, 202-261-7613