Equipment error led to fatal paint factory explosion, investigation found

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Watch the traffic camera footage of the paint factory explosion in the player above.

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – After more than six months, an investigation has found the cause of a fatal explosion at a paint factory off Leonard Avenue.

A statement from the Columbus Division of Fire announced that the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA), the National Chemical Safety Board and the Ohio EPA have concluded their part of the investigation which focused on the cause and the origin of an explosion that occurred just after midnight. , April 8 at the Yenkin-Majestic factory located at 1920 Leonard Avenue.

Investigation found that a malfunction in a computer or equipment led to the explosion and the resulting fire, which left one dead and several others injured.

According to the investigation, a plant employee was monitoring the operations of a 3,000 gallon kettle used to mix product, when at one point, an agitator that kept the product cool, constantly mixing it, rolled over. stopped working.

This caused the mixed products to react chemically, creating heat and pressurizing the tank until the pressure passed through the seal that surrounded an observation port in the kettle.

“Highly flammable gas in the form of steam or vapor was released into the kettle room and filled the second floor from where it originated and continued to spread to the first floor. At one point, the gas came in contact with an ignition source and the result was an explosion, ”the report said.

Most of the workers were able to exit the building after the explosion, according to the report, but three did not. An employee died in the explosion and two others had to be evacuated from the building by firefighters.

The Columbus Fire Division announced that there was no evidence of any criminal or intentional act in connection with the explosion, and no charges were laid.

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