Yesterday we reported that tragedy struck at I. Schumann & Co., a bronze and copper manufacturing plant located in Oakwood Village near Bedford, OH. Today, the number of injured was confirmed by authorities and the company, and new details have been reported.
First, witnesses now report there were two explosions at the plant, with the smaller one occurring shortly after 2 PM and the second, larger one occurring around 2:30 PM local time. Debris was blown hundreds of yards away, with some debris reportedly going as far as 1,000 feet away. The brick wall of the industrial building was blown away and bricks hit cars and businesses in the surrounding area. Smoke was visible for miles in a massive plume. One witness said, “I just saw a big, black cloud...like that whole side was all black.”
The cause of the explosions is still unknown at this time.
Over a dozen victims suffered burn injuries and at least one person suffered fatal injuries in the incident. Multiple burn victims were taken from the scene; one was flown via LifeFlight. Several medical helicopters had reportedly been requested, which is typical for severe burn cases. The majority of fire departments were reported to the scene to assist in the rescue operation.
In a statement, I. Schumann & Co. confirmed the passing of Steven Mullins, a nearly 30-year company employee working in their maintenance group. The company expressed their heavy hearts for his passing and offered their thoughts to his family during this difficult time.
“There is no immediately available information regarding a cause for this accident,” a company spokesperson wrote in a statement. “We expect it will take time before we know more. We intend to cooperate with OSHA and other officials in their investigation as we search for answers in this tragic accident. We are working with our employees regarding their needs while the facility is idle and hope to have clarity on our operations in the near future.
For now, the foundry will remain closed.
Our hearts go out to the grieving and injured who were caught in the foundry explosions in Oakwood Village. We hope for a full and rapid recovery, as well as a rapid investigation so that these families can get answers.