EAST ALTON, IL (KTVI) – Workers at the Olin Brass plant in East Alton, Illinois said an explosion rocked the plant around noon Tuesday injuring two employees. It happened in one of its casting units. Company officials are still investigating and pulling together the facts of what went wrong. OSHA is investigating and Olin Brass said they are cooperating with the federal agency.
Cory Douglas works as a subcontractor for Olin Brass. He was on the parking lot when it happened around noon, “The truck kind of vibrated, that’s about it. It sounded pretty much like an explosion a bomb going off.”
One of the injured was airlifted to Mercy Hospital in Creve Coeur where there is a burn unit. Douglas saw the patient, “He was on a stretcher, all wrapped up and I couldn’t really see him.”
The other person was taken by ambulance to a local hospital and treated and released. The East Alton Fire Department was alerted and firefighters staged outside the plant because Olin Brass has its own team of some 30 firefighters and emergency medical technicians on staff. Ann Pipkin is a spokesperson for Olin Brass, “They respond when a call comes so we have our own emergency notification system, a call comes in it comes to our call center and our folks respond.”
Olin Brass employs about 1,000 people. During the process of making copper temperatures can rise to 2,300 degrees. The plant can produce 1 million pounds of copper alloys a day which are used in the ammunition, automotive and electronic industries.