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Extrusion Plant Blast Injures 5

Friday, July 1, 2016

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An explosion injured five workers in the casting area of an aluminum extrusion plant in Georgia.

The blast occurred about 9:15 a.m., Wednesday (June 29) at the Bonnell Aluminum facility in Newnan, according to news reports. Authorities had not yet determined a cause Thursday afternoon, and work at the site was temporarily halted.

Bonnell, a subsidiary of Tredegar Corporation, extrudes aluminum for architectural, automotive and consumer-product applications, in addition to painting and anodizing extrusions.

5 Injured, Roof Blown Open

Bonnell said in a statement that two workers were airlifted to Atlanta Medical Center, about 40 miles north of Newnan. Three others were transported by ambulance and treated locally. Atlanta’s WSB-TV referred to the injuries of the two workers treated in Atlanta as “life-threatening.”

Photos from the site of the accident show that the roof of the plant was blown open by the blast.

After the explosion, Bonnell shut down operations at the Newnan plant; according to the company, the casting area remains closed during the investigation. The rest of the plant was cleared as safe, and Bonnell said Wednesday that operations would resume through most of the facility Thursday.

Officials said the explosion did not involve hazardous materials, Reuters reported.

Cause Unknown

The Newnan Times-Herald reported that buildings were shaken by the explosion a mile away. The paper talked to former Bonnell employees, who said the company was strict about safety.

Those former workers also speculated that water or moisture could have found its way to the smelters resulting in the blast.

However, the cause of the explosion is under investigation by local fire officials and by the federal  Occupational Safety and Health Administration; the company has said it’s too early to speculate.

Bonnell History

According to Bonnell’s website, the Newnan facility was first built in 1953, and the company, then called Trimedge of Georgia Inc. became Bonnell in 1955.

A Twitter user Wednesday uncovered news reports from December 1956, when an explosion at the Newnan plant killed two workers and destroyed part of the structure.

In addition to the Newnan facility—which includes both a general extrusion plant and a dedicated automotive plant—Bonnell has a facility in Carthage, TN, and two other factories, in Elkhart, IN, and Niles, MI, which it acquired in 2012 when the company bought extrusion company AACOA.

Company Statement

As of press time Thursday (June 30), names and conditions of the injured workers had not been released.

“Our highest priority at the moment is to ensure that our injured employees receive the care and support they need to recover from this unfortunate event,” Brook Hamilton, Bonnell’s president, said in a statement.

“We want to extend our thoughts and prayers to all of those impacted by today’s event.”

   

Tagged categories: Accidents; Aluminum; Explosions; Extrusions; OSHA

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