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Wichita, Kansas Beechcraft Plant Explosion Injures at Least 14 People

Over a dozen people were injured on Friday morning during an explosion at a Beechcraft manufacturing plant in Kansas. Images from the scene of the explosion show a partially-collapsed building with debris scattered around it.

What Caused the Explosion?

Officials said that a three-inch nitrogen pipe ruptured and caused the explosion. John Gallagher, director of emergency services for Sedgwick County, said that 11 people were sent to local hospitals and 4 more received treatment at the scene of the explosion. The Wichita Fire Department said that there are no reports of individuals trapped inside the collapsed portion of the building. Additionally, officials have revealed that there are no confirmed fatalities. Gallagher revealed that one patient has “potentially serious injuries” but was unable to provide more details.

It’s unclear how many people were at the plant. However, officials have said that it was operating with a smaller crew because of the holidays. "One of the benefits is the plant was closed or shut down for the holiday season, so the numbers that would have been here were not," Sedgwick County Fire Deputy Chief Daniel Wegner commented.

A woman who lives near the plant told The Wichita Eagle that the explosion shook her home. “I really had assumed it was an earthquake,” she said. “The way it rattled the house I thought, you know, that is not the typical earthquake rattle. When I opened my front door, I was just blown away.”

What Does Beechcraft Do?

Textron Aviation owns Beechcraft. It manufactures single-engine and twin-engine airplanes. Textron Aviation purchased the company in 2014. Prior to being purchased, Beechcraft was known as Beech Aircraft Corporation. The company has been in Wichita, Kansas since it was founded in 1932. Earlier this month, Textron announced that it would lay off workers, with a majority of them being in the Wichita plant.