AKRON, Ohio – A maintenance worker was killed in explosion at an Ohio metals plant that sparked a large fire and sent more than a dozen people to hospitals, with at least two in critical condition, authorities said.
The blast and three-alarm blaze rocked the I. Schumann & Co. alloy factory in the Cleveland suburb of Oakwood Village shortly before 3 p.m. Smoke from the explosion was seen for miles as emergency crews responded to the scene.
Steven Mullins, 46, of North Ridgeville, was killed in the explosion, according to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office. Thirteen others were being treated at hospitals, mostly for burns and related injuries, authorities said.
Oakwood Fire Captain Brian Dirocco told News 5 Cleveland the fire was under control Monday evening.
"The bulk of the fire is out, and responding firefighters are just working on a couple of hot spots," DiRocco said.
Matt Barkett, chief client officer for I. Schumann & Co., released a statement Monday evening saying the origin of the explosion is still unknown. He confirmed employees were injured and that the facility sustained significant damage.
"Our efforts now are focused on supporting the first responders who came on scene quickly to help our employees," Barkett said. "The safety and health of our employees is our top priority and we commit to ensuring they receive the medical care they need."
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MetroHealth spokesperson Dorsena Koonce said it was treating four people, with two of them in critical condition. A University Hospitals official said seven patients were being treated at Ahuja Medical Center.
Jeff Huhn, who works across the street, heard the explosion.
"We were just loading up a truck, getting ready to leave, and it was the loudest noise we ever heard," Huhn said. "Everything was shaking, things were falling off the shelves here. We looked out, and saw a huge plume of smoke. About 40 feet down from the entrance, it blew up half the building. It blew debris and shrapnel, there were cars on fire. We just saw pandemonium after the explosion."
Barkett said I. Schumann & Co. will work with investigators, adding that the company has been operating in Northeast Ohio for more than 100 years.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with our team members and their families at this difficult time," Barkett said.
Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY NETWORK: Explosion at I Schumann & Co. factory in Oakwood Village, Ohio: 1 dead