Investigative Update - Optima Belle LLC


Investigative Update

Optima-Belle LLC

Belle, West Virginia



Incident Summary

  • The Optima Belle facility in Belle, WV experienced an explosion event on December 8, 2020.
  • The explosion occurred in an industrial dryer unit.
  • Optima Belle was performing a process to remove water from chlorinated dry bleach.
  • One worker was fatally injured.
  • The explosion resulted in multiple projectiles.
  • One of the projectiles landed on the nearby highway and injured a local resident.
  • Optima Belle was performing a trial batch process operation for the Clearon Corporation.
  • The explosion occurred during the first trial batch.


Investigation Progress:

  • The CSB is working with Optima Belle to sample and test the chlorinated dry bleach powder involved in the incident.
  • Dark specks were observed in the chlorinated dry bleach powder shortly before the incident, causing the powder samples to fail visual inspection multiple times before the incident. The CSB is working to determine the source of these dark specks and their composition.
  • The CSB conducted a briefing with the family members of the fatally injured employee on Friday, February 19, 2021 to share factual information available at this point in the investigation.
  • The objective of the CSB‘s investigation is to determine the cause/probable cause of the explosion and develop a written report with the facts, conditions and circumstances associated with the incident.
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