Plant Accident Occurs in Omaha
On a crisp Monday morning remembering Martin Luther King, the south-central portion of Omaha is left reeling after a possible plant explosion injured 10 people and has left an unknown number trapped within. The accident, which is currently being investigated, took place at International Nutrition, a manufacturer for animal supplements and feed products, just before noon Central time. According to the latest report, the Fire Department was unable to give any conclusive answers as to the extent and severity of damage.
Witnesses nearby could not specify whether an explosion occurred but did see grayish brown smoke billowing up from the plant, which eventually turned black. Minutes later, emergency response vehicles were rushed to the scene. A few miles away, workers at another business recall seeing what looked like dust wafting up in that general area.
Local residents and family members rushed to the scene as texts and phone calls from their loved ones inside of the building quickly began to rush in. One woman received a text from her boyfriend, who said there was a "major accident" and that he was hurt. He ended the short text by telling her he loved her and has not been heard from since. Other family members of employees have received word from loved ones of their safety, including one woman's husband who had just left the building when the explosion occurred. He recalls feeling the fire on his back as he ran from the structure. Countless other family members are at the scene eagerly awaiting any information concerning the whereabouts and safety of their loved ones.
Up to 15 People May Be Trapped Inside
Authorities are still trying to determine the cause of the accident while also issuing emergency rescue efforts to reach the unknown number of workers trapped inside. Reports indicate that there were 38 people working at the time of the accident but no conclusive information can be found as to how many were inside of the building, how many are currently trapped within the building and whether the accident has claimed any lives. Using deduction, estimates suggest up to 15 people may be trapped inside, according to the latest reports.
Injury numbers are already up to ten people, with four receiving emergency treatment at Nebraska Medical Center. One man is in critical condition, reportedly suffering symptoms of hypothermia. Paramedics believe that he was submerged in cold water after being injured by a fallen object. Another man is being treated for inhaling limestone and the Nebraska Medical Center is treating him and three others including one with a collapsed lung, two men with minor injuries and a firefighter needing stitches on his hand. Three patients are at Alegent Creighton and were described as being in fair, serious and critical conditions. Bergy Mercy Medical Center is reportedly treating another three injured victims but no information is available thus far as to their condition.
Interim Fire Chief Bernard Kanger is heading up the investigation and rescue efforts. The priority at this time is to assess the damage and get those who are trapped inside to safety as quickly as possible. Rescuers from Lincoln have been asked to assist in a search and rescue mission but the efforts are being slowed down by the extent of damage to the plant.
Arnold & Itkin LLP sends its deepest regards to the families of any injured or trapped in the accident. We will continue to update you on this situation as information is released. Please check back for the latest on this unfortunate tragedy.