One of the 13 people taken to local hospitals after an explosion Monday at a metal factory near Oakwood, Ohio, has died, according to Captain Brian DiRocco with the Oakwood Village Fire Department.
The explosion was at the I. Schumann & Co. building, a metal alloy factory, DiRocco said.
“There was a lot of smoke, a lot of fire, and a lot of injured people,” DiRocco said at a news conference Tuesday, adding that the interior of the building looks “catastrophic” and that the damage is extensive.
DiRocco did not have an update on the condition of the others who were taken to hospitals. At least two were in critical condition Monday at MetroHealth Medical Center, where four patients were being treated, according to Dorsena Drakeford, a media relations specialist at the center.
Local officials have been working with the State Fire Marshal, EPA, ATF and OSHA since Monday afternoon in the investigation of the explosion and fire. The cause is still unknown.
“There is no immediately available information regarding a cause for this accident. We expect it will take time before we know more,” I. Schumann said in a statement Tuesday, adding it intends to cooperate with investigating officials “as we search for answers in the tragic accident.”
The company identified the deceased as Steven Mullins, an employee of almost 30 years who worked in the maintenance department.
“He will be greatly missed, and our thoughts are with his family at this time,” I. Schumann said. “We would like to thank the many first responders whose quick action following our accident yesterday ensured our employees who needed medical care got it quickly.”
Several people had burn injuries, according to DiRocco, and one additional person was treated at the site. All staff were accounted for, DiRocco said Monday.
The bulk of the fire was out as of 5 p.m. Monday. The explosion and fire occurred around 3 p.m. and left debris scattered around the area, according to DiRocco.
Several fire departments responded to a large fire at the scene, the Twinsburg Fire Department said. The fire department sent one crew to respond to patients and they transported at least one person to the hospital, the department told CNN.
With the fire located in the area of Walton Hills and Oakwood, many rural fire departments responded.
Stephenie Davis was at her job in Oakwood Village when she suddenly felt the entire building start to shake. She walked to a window and saw a “huge cloud of black smoke” coming from a building less than 1,000 feet away, Davis told CNN.
Davis and her coworkers went outside to see what happened and saw debris on the roof and scattered through the parking lot, she said.
“Some windows at our neighboring building in front of us were blown out, cars were damaged and debris was on the ground on fire,” Davis said.
Videos posted to Facebook show a large smoke cloud consuming the sky as flames continue to burn at a building across the street. Pictures show the burning debris in the parking lot next to a truck with dents and damage.
“Everyone was in shock and looking at their cars and the building where the smoke was exiting,” Davis said. “We heard another smaller boom and everyone started to either get in their cars to leave or go back into their work building for safety.”
Two days after the incident, five employees of an environmental response consulting firm who were traveling from Arkansas to the explosion scene were killed in a plane crash, officials said.
A twin-engine plane carrying employees of the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health crashed around noon Wednesday in Little Rock, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The employees were headed to the I. Schumann & Co. metals plant, a CTEH spokesperson told CNN. The company said it provides responsive services to the public and private sector, including incident management, industrial hygiene and safety consulting.