Investigators to determine if magnesium plant explosion violates environmental, safety rules - KMOV.com

Investigators to determine if magnesium plant explosion violates environmental, safety rules

(KMOV) -- It could be months before investigators determine what caused an overnight explosion at a magnesium plant in Venice, Illinois.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration began its investigation this morning into Monday night’s fire at Magnesium Elektron, located at 1001 College Street in Madison, Illinois.

 

OSHA Area Director Nick Walters said investigators will look into the source of the explosion; what can be done to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future; and whether Madison Elektron violated any federal safety or health standards.

 

Walters said the investigation could take up to six months.

 

Meanwhile, many residents expressed concern over whether the explosion poses an environmental hazard.

 

“I know all areas need places like this because we need to work,” Lucia Simms said. “But I guess if they could make sure people are safe.”

 

Simms said she is worried the presence of magnesium in the air late Monday night could pose a public health issue.

 

Magnesium Elektron insists residents are safe.

 

“The hazard is non-existent as far as we're concerned,” the company’s comptroller, Kim Banovz, said.

 

The Environmental Protection Agency is conducting tests and will determine whether the explosion left any hazardous materials in the air.

 

Monday evening, the city of Venice had ordered an evacuation, but later called it off when it determined residents were not in any immediate danger.

 

Banovz said employees followed all safety precautions when the explosion happened. She said the company is relieved no one was injured.

 

She said the plant employs about 85 workers, but she was unable to provide specifics about how many workers were inside at the time of the explosion.

 

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