OSHA investigating deadly Madill plant explosion - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

OSHA investigating deadly Madill plant explosion


MADILL -- Federal investigators are now involved in a deadly explosion at a steel manufacturing facility in Marshall County.

Two employees died when a large industrial furnace blew up at Mid-American Steel and Wire at about 4pm Monday.

The business melts scrap metal to make wire rods. Video posted to YouTube by a sister company for Mid-American Steel and Wire shows how the process works. But Monday, a point in the process went tragically wrong.

"Fairly heavy industry is common here," Marshall County Sheriff Ed Kent said. "It's just, we usually don't have deaths so it's a tragedy."

According the Kent, the furnace used to heat the metal exploded killing two employees and injuring one more.

The technical description of what happened is being called a bleve, short for boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion.

"Some foreign gas or water, or something, gets into the pot and causes it to expand rapidly and explode," Kent explained.

Tuesday morning, the Oklahoma Fire Marshall and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, were at Mid-American Steel and Wire, and its sister company located next-door, Oklahoma Steel and Wire.

By phone, an OSHA representative confirmed it is investigating. During its investigations, it looks at whether OSHA standards were violated. If violations are found, citations are issued which come with monetary penalties. By law, the entire process can take up to 6 months.

So far, the Oklahoma Fire Marshall has not said what caused the fire.

As investigators work towards making that determination, those who knew the victims are moving forward too, without a co-worker and a friend.

"A very nice guy. I know the family," employee Jesus Chavez said.

The identities of the victims have not been confirmed by the Oklahoma Medical Examiners Office.

The man who was injured was treated at a local hospital and released.

We contacted Mid-American Steel and Wire and Oklahoma Steel and Wire but our calls have not been returned.

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