Tragedy refuses to surrender in the close community of south-central Omaha following a devastating and baffling incident that left dozens of workers injured and hundreds of family members concerned. As information is discovered and released, authorities are finding that the extent of damage caused by what is described by some as an explosion is far greater than first anticipated.
Update on Rescue Efforts in Omaha
Rescue efforts conducted by Omaha rescuers and Lincoln rescuers were severely stunted by the uncertain structural integrity of the building and the strong, unpredictable winds. By the time they were able to go near the building, they were reluctant to confirm two fatalities thus far. The deaths are added to the 17 injured victims that have surfaced since the incident this morning. Four of the injured were reported as being in critical condition, six were treated for moderate injuries and seven more people declined medical attention for their injuries.
Interim Fire Chief Kanger held a press conference at 3:00 PM concerning the findings of the rescue efforts and the current condition of the situation. He confirmed fatalities but declined to state how many as well as release the names of the deceased. Local news media was able to receive confirmation from the Douglas County Attorney's office that the current number of fatalities is indeed two. The rescue mission has been changed to a recovery mission, which means that no one left in the mangled building is alive, claimed Kanger. Before going further with the recovery mission, authorities must secure the structure to prevent further collapsing—especially in light of the unpredictable winds picking up.
The four injured victims that had been taken to Nebraska Medical Center were either released or described as being in good/fair condition. Since this morning, up to 45 staff members were involved with giving these four men the medical attention they required.
There is still no information as to the specific nature or cause of this particular incident. Workers who escaped the damaged building described a fireball-like explosion and witnesses from afar described the smoke as dusty, brown and eventually turning black. Firefighters and rescue workers are working on conducting a full recovery search for any remaining bodies within the structure and investigations are being made into the actual cause of the incident.
Information About International Nutrition
International Nutrition is a privately held animal supplements and feed manufacturer, having served U.S. farmers and feeders for more than 40 years. Unfortunately, this type of tragedy is not a first for the plant. In 2002, a man was crushed to death by a feed mixing machine. The accident resulted in fines by OSHA for five separate safety violations. Ten years later, in 2012, the plant received another set of fines for six serious violations including the lack of medical and first aid care, improper handling of materials, abrasive machinery and a number of other safety concerns.
Chief Kanger will commence with a second press conference releasing further information at 8:00 PM tonight. Please continue to check back as news is released as to the condition of the incident and its victims.