At least 14 people were injured – including one seriously – in a large explosion at a metals factory in Bedford, Ohio.
Ambulances were pictured at the scene by 1 Schumann & Co., which manufactures brass and bronze alloys. It is still unclear what caused the explosion on Monday around 2.30 p.m.
One person suffered life-threatening injuries while several people were treated for burns when molten metal and debris rained down on neighboring buildings.
The blast sent smoke into the sky that could be seen for miles around the damaged factory. Emergency services have also requested the development of several medical helicopters.
The Bedford, Ohio blast is just about 70 miles northwest of eastern Palestine, where a poisonous train derailed on February 3. It is south of Cleveland.
A metal factory in Bedford, Ohio, exploded Monday
Ambulances were pictured at the scene by 1 Schumann & Co., which manufactures brass and bronze alloys
The blast sent smoke into the sky that could be seen for miles around the damaged factory
All of the injured were at the scene, but the falling debris spared those at neighboring businesses, said Brian DiRocco, captain of the Oakwood Fire Department.
“People were mostly wounded. They came toward us,” DiRocco said. “I’m sure a lot of the people who work here were in shock.”
Witnesses told Local News 5 that there were two explosions: a small one followed by a larger one at around 2.30pm.
The building’s brick wall was completely blown away, and bricks hit nearby cars and businesses.
Debris was also blown across the street.
“I’m getting my pork chop ready from Tasty Take-Outs like I normally do… finished my pork chop… next thing you know – BOOM.”
Debris covers the ground and nearby cars after the explosion
Smoke billows from a metal factory after an explosion in Bedford, Ohio
Two unnamed workers walk away from I. Schumann & Co.’s metal works after an explosion at the factory
“I looked over and it was just… boom.
“Ridiculous, I don’t know why nothing hit me,” a witness told News 5.
Oakwood Fire Department officials said the cause of the blast is being investigated but described the facility as a “relatively safe facility.”
“It’s a foundry, so you’re dealing with molten hot metal, so there’s always an inherent hazard,” a spokesman said.
Representatives of the company, which produces copper, brass and bronze, could not immediately be reached for comment. The company has been operating since 1917, according to its website.
A vehicle is under a pile of rubble after the explosion on Monday
Debris covers the ground and nearby cars after an explosion at I. Schumann & Co
A worker who escaped the blast left a helmet on the ground
Matthew Wiggins, owner of neighboring company Rose Colored Gaming, told WOIO he heard a large explosion and that “within a second or two it sounded like large amounts of debris were hitting the roof”.
“Things were falling off the walls, falling off the shelves. We went to the front and there was like smoldering rocks and molten metal in the yard. Tons of smoke. Fire is pouring out of the building across the street,” Wiggins said.
Another witness, Joe Sarconi, said he was having lunch in his car across the street when he heard at least two explosions obliterating a brick wall enclosing the property.
“A beam flew across the street. That other beam flew across the street and blew out our window,” Sarconi said. “Exciting but terrible.”