Chem Co. Blast Leaves 1 Dead

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 @ 07:04 PM gHale


A 550-gallon plastic compressed air canister exploded Friday killing one Sierra Chemical Company employee in Sparks, NV, officials said.

The explosion comes five months after an Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspection reported three violations classified as “serious,” one said the company had a hazardous work environment at the facility.

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According to Sierra Chemical, the employee was performing a test operation when the canister burst at 8 a.m. Friday.

Police said in a news release that “there were no chemicals or fire involved in the explosion, and no other persons were injured.”

The employee was dead on arrival, officials said.

The name, age and gender of the employee were not immediately available.

OSHA, the FBI, the Reno and Sparks fire departments and Sparks police are involved in the ongoing investigating, officials said.

The company, which makes and distributes environmental products, released a statement Friday saying it is “deeply saddened to confirm a fatal accident has occurred” at the Sparks facility.

All Sierra Chemical operations remain suspended while the investigation continues, the company said.

The violations filed as “serious” last December ended up settled in January. Those violations were for “handling materials,” “guarding floor and wall openings and holes” and “general duty clause” violations.

In 2011, Illinois-based Carus Group Inc. bought Sierra Chemical, 13 years after two Sierra Chemical plants exploded near Lockwood, about 12 miles east of Reno, killing four and injuring six employees.

A federal investigation determined “safety violations, untrained workers and lack of management oversight” caused that explosion in 1998, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported.

The building involved in Friday’s explosion ended up built in 1990, according to the Washoe County Assessor’s Office.



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