Looking back: One year ago explosion at Carbide Industries kills 2


by WHAS11 News


Posted on March 21, 2012 at 7:05 PM

Click to see photos from the scene

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) - Two people are dead and two more injured after an explosion and fire Monday at Carbide Industries in the Rubbertown area.

It happened around 5:30 p.m. Monday at the plant located on Bells Lane. Everyone within a one mile radius was advised to go and stay indoors, close all doors and windows and bring in any pets after a chemical was feared to have been released into the air. Residents told WHAS11 News that they are upset that they did not receive a warning. (Click here for full story)

Doug Hamilton with Louisville Metro Department of Emergency Management said it was a Level 2 HazMat situation; there are three levels.  He said the chemical involved is calcium carbide and it is an inhalation hazard. However, their equipment at the scene did not show any levels in the air that could do harm to people. 
There were 17 employees inside the plant at the time of the explosion, four of which were taken to University Hospital.  Steven Nichols, 59, of Charlestown, was pronounced dead at University Hospital at 6:45 p.m. Monday. A second man, Jorge Medina, 56, was pronounced dead Tuesday morning. Both men died from burns sustained over the majority of their bodies.The other two employees were released. 

There is still some fire equipment on the scene but firefighters were told to evacuate the plant, because the fire was too large and was left to burn out.

A source of a lot of the smoke is mineral oil burning in transformers inside a building.

The blast was centered at the lower portions of the building.

OSHA was on the scene Tuesday questioning managers at Carbide Industries to put together what exactly happened Monday.

What caused the blast is still under investigation.

Complete coverage of the explosion here.

Click to see photos from the scene of the explosion.