The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Wednesday, 22 January 2014 12:35cat

4 Dead in Oklahoma and Nebraska Plant Blasts

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An explosion at a Nebraska food plant led to the deaths of two employees An explosion at a Nebraska food plant led to the deaths of two employees AP Photo/Nati Harnik

Two people died on Monday morning when an animal feed plant in Omaha, Nebraska collapsed and burst into flames.  Seventeen other workers were injured, including four who are in critical condition.  Two other people died in a seperate incident when a furnace exploded at a steel plant in Madill, Oklahoma later in the day.

The victims of the Omaha collapse were located on the second floor of the plant when the explosion occurred, and operations to remove one of the bodies from the rubble were suspended on Monday night due the extreme weather that was hitting the area.  The three-story International Nutrition Inc. plant was home to 38 employees, all of who have been accounted for.  As of Monday night, officials were still trying to determine if there were any visitors at the plant when the explosion occurred. Witnesses reported hearing a loud noise and then seeing a fire erupt immediately before the building collapsed.  Representatives of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) were on the scene after the collapse, and they will investigate the cause of the explosion.  OSHA has fined International Nutrition twice in the past.  One of the fines was the result of an employee dyeing during work, and the other was for six serious safety violations.  International Nutrition makes feed and vitamins for animals.

The furnace explosion occurred at Mid-America Steel and Wire on Monday afternoon.  Two died as a result of the explosion, and one person was injured.  Local police say the injured man had burns on the back of his head, but he is currently in stable condition.  They say the furnace explosion was caused by a gas buildup.  The fire marshal and OSHA representatives are investigating the cause of the blast.

Sources: Chicago TribuneNBC NewsKXII

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