At least one person has died and 13 other people injured after two explosions occurred at a metal manufacturing plant on Monday in Oakwood Village of Bedford, Ohio.
The I. Schumann and Co. metals plant makes copper, brass, and bronze alloys.
Witnesses told News 5 Cleveland that there were two explosions—a small one first, and the a second stronger one around 2:30 p.m.
In a statement shortly after the explosions, I. Schumann and Co. said the incident resulted in “injuries to employees.” It added that the damage to the facility was “significant” and that the cause of explosion is unclear.
“We will work alongside investigators in their search for answers as part of our commitment to Northeast Ohio, where we have been operating for more than 100 years,” the is family-owned factory said in a statement.
The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed one death from the incident.
The victim is identified as 46-year-old Steve Mullins of North Ridgeville. WKYC reported that Mullins was a maintenance worker at the plant.
A large amount of smoke from the fire that broke out following the explosion could be seen billowing into the sky as fire departments throughout northeast Ohio responded to the incident.
Broadview Heights Fire Department said on Facebook there has been reports of a “burning oil” smell in some areas, which is “likely from the fire scene.” It added, “We are likely to notice this odor for a while yet.”
Oakwood Fire Department Captain Brian DiRocco on Monday afternoon told reporters on the scene that 13 of those injured were taken to hospital. Many of them sustained burn wounds, and one person was being treated on site.
One person was taken by LifeFlight helicopter and flown to a hospital for treatment, reported News 5 Cleveland.
The outlet reported that the explosion caused the brick wall of the metals building to be “completely blown away,” and that bricks were thrown across the parking block.
All of those injured were on site due to the fire inside the building, DiRocco said, adding that no one was injured due to falling debris.
“The people were mostly walking wounded,” DiRocco said. “I’m sure there’s a lot of people that work here that were in shock.”
DiRocco said he had inspected the site before and found it a safe place, “except for the fact that it’s a foundry.” He noted that there is “always an inherent danger” due to the presence of molten metal.
He added the facility doesn’t have a history of fire code violations.
The explosion took place about 70 miles north of East Palestine, Ohio, where a train derailed releasing toxic chemicals on Feb. 3. It is also about 15 miles southeast of Cleveland.