In the afternoon of June 21, 10 people were injured in an accidental explosion at the Dippin’ Dots factory in Kentucky. Police and company officials say that the factory accident occurred as workers were handling liquid nitrogen. Reportedly, the truck was unloading the nitrogen into a storage tank to be used for making Dippin’ Dots when an explosion injured 10 of the 11 people present.
Of the 10 injured people, 9 were released late on Wednesday. One worker currently remains hospitalized as of this writing.
The ice cream factory explosion took place at the Pacudah factory, a facility owned by Dippin’ Dots but used to produce ingredients for a third-party company. Company officials were quick to release a statement that the explosion did not take place at their ice cream factory: “This is a terrible accident, which occurred at our contract manufacturing facility and did not involve our headquarters and ice cream production facility. At this moment, our focus is on the well-being of our fellow employees who were injured.”
Liquid Nitrogen Leak at Another Facility in 2019
This story bears some similarities to a 2019 Dippin’ Dots explosion that was potentially caused by a nitrogen leak, according to a city representative at the time. The 2019 blast, which injured 4 people, took place at a facility not far from yesterday’s explosion.
In both cases, the presence of liquid nitrogen in an enclosed container is the likely cause of the explosion. When nitrogen becomes a vapor, it rapidly expands. If mishandled, nitrogen in an enclosed container has been known to cause explosions, and it can even cause noncombustible materials to ignite.
The volatile and potentially deadly features of nitrogen make it crucial that workers are equipped and prepared to handle it safely. Lack of proper equipment or training could cause sudden and fatal explosions and would make the factory owner or operator liable.
Our hearts go out to the injured workers, and we wish them a speedy recovery. We also hope the investigation yields conclusive findings so we can prevent further explosions at Dippin’ Dots factories.