The San Juan Daily Star
1 dead, a dozen injured in explosion at Ohio metal plant
By Michael Levenson
One person died and at least a dozen others were injured Monday in an explosion at an Ohio metal factory that scattered debris over hundreds of yards, authorities said.
Firefighters were called about 3 p.m. to a “very large explosion” with heavy fire and smoke at a metal plant in Bedford, Ohio, about 12 miles southeast of Cleveland, Capt. Brian DiRocco of the Oakwood Village Fire Department told reporters.
Thirteen people were taken to hospitals, mostly for burn injuries, DiRocco said. One person was in critical condition, he said. Mary Louise Madigan, a spokesperson for Cuyahoga County, later confirmed that a 46-year-old man had died.
DiRocco said the cause of the explosion was under investigation. He described the foundry as a “relatively safe plant,” despite the inherent danger involved in working with molten metals.
The explosion sent plumes of dark smoke into the air and scattered debris hundreds of yards, damaging cars in a parking lot across the street, DiRocco said.
Jeff Huhn, who works at Mid-State Sales across the street from the plant, told The Akron Beacon Journal that he heard the explosion.
“We were just loading up a truck, getting ready to leave, and it was the loudest noise we ever heard,” Huhn told the Beacon Journal. “Everything was shaking, things were falling off the shelves here.”
The explosion “blew debris and shrapnel; there were cars on fire,” he added. “We just saw pandemonium after the explosion.”
I. Schumann & Co., which has been making copper alloys since 1917, according to its website, said in a statement to News 5 Cleveland that an explosion “of unknown origin struck our Bedford, Ohio, facility today resulting in injuries to employees and significant damage to the facility.”
The company said that it was focused on supporting authorities “who came on scene quickly to help our employees.” It added, “The safety and health of our employees is our top priority and we commit to ensuring they receive the medical care they need.”
“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 company said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with our team members and their families at this difficult time.”