(Washington, DC - October 30, 2003) Investigators from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) are en route to the site of a series of explosions Wednesday night at the Hayes Lemmerz aluminum wheel casting plant in Huntington, Indiana, near Fort Wayne.
Reports indicate one person was fatally burned and another critically injured when the explosions occurred. At the time approximately 80 people were at the plant, which is located at 1870 Riverfork Drive in Huntington, off Indiana Route 9. A large fireball was reportedly visible in the surrounding area. Board member Dr. Gerald Poje will be accompanying the team, which is headed by lead investigator Angela Blair.
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. Typically, the investigations involve extensive witness interviews, examination of physical evidence, and chemical and forensic testing.
The Board does not issue citations or 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.
For more information, contact Daniel Horowitz at 202-441-6074 (cell), on scene.