On Tuesday night, a foundry explosion in Delaware, OH left 5 workers injured—four of them left with severe burn injuries.
Delaware Fire Chief John Donahue is currently investigating the explosion and has said that he is considering all possible causes—including human error or equipment malfunction.
The 911 dispatcher received a call from the plant at around 10:12 PM and the first rescue team arrived on the scene about five minutes later. The first responders used the word "chaos" to describe the scene—there was an initial explosion that caused spot fires all throughout the plant. The main hazard was the molten metal that had launched from the furnace.
Thankfully, the fires were contained within 20 minutes.
"Multiple Guys Who Are Burned Up"
"I've got multiple injuries...multiple guys who are burned up," a worker named Eddie said on the 911 call. In the background of the recording, someone can be heard saying, "His skin's melted off his entire back." Four patients were taken to the burn center at Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University. Two of them had burns on their face and around their mouths.
Chief Donahue told reporters, "The problem with burns is that you have initial damage and then later, the swelling and complications." Burn injuries are among the most costly injuries a person can suffer—serious burns require multiple specialists and days of around-the-clock care to watch for infections and prevent further damage.
The fifth injured worker was treated at Grady Memorial Hospital in Delaware and has been released.
The Spotted History of Liberty Casting Company
According to their website, Liberty Casting Co. does "gray, ductile, and high alloy iron casting." Chief Donahue's department has responded to calls from the plant multiple times in the last 10 years. In June 2014, they responded to a call regarding a flammable liquid leak at the plant. In 2012, there was a fire. In 2008, there was another furnace fire.
The next morning, as employees left the parking lot, they declined to comment. One told reporters, "We are handling this ourselves." An HR spokesperson for Liberty said the company would have no comment. OSHA has already begun their investigation, which (by law) cannot last more than six months. Officials with the agency noted that witnesses have already been interviewed regarding the cause.
Poor History with OSHA
OSHA has cited Liberty Casting Co. 26 times since 2010, totaling $76,000 in fines. All but 6 of their citations were "serious" violations. The two most recent were issued in 2015. OSHA inspectors noted that employees were using propane torches without wearing flame-resistant clothing; others were unclogging valves without proper training. In both cases, OSHA cited them as "serious" safety hazards.
Our Delaware foundry explosion attorneys hope OSHA's investigation will yield conclusive answers, and that Liberty Casting's history will start to change its future. We hope for a full recovery for all of those left injured by the plant explosion. As advocates for better plant safety, we know that no one should ever have to go through an event like this.