TONAWANDA, N.Y. – Officials say a 10,000-gallon tank undergoing maintenance exploded at a western New York DuPont plant, killing one worker and injuring another.
DuPont says in a statement that workers were welding equipment connected to the empty tank when the explosion occurred at about 10:45 a.m. Tuesday. Company officials do not believe hazardous materials were released to the environment.
The Tonawanda plant, about eight miles from Buffalo, employs about 700 workers and produces Corian countertops and also laminate film used in solar panels.
The worker who died was employed by Mollenberg-Betz, a Buffalo mechanical contractor. His name was not released and the company declined to comment.
Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont says it is looking into what happened.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
TONAWANDA, N.Y. (AP) — A small tank at a DuPont plant exploded Tuesday morning, killing one worker, injuring another and forcing part of the building to be evacuated.
The worker who died, an outside contractor, was apparently fixing or maintaining the empty, 10,000-gallon tank when it blew up at about 11:15 a.m., said Tonawanda Police Lt. Nick Bado. Bado said there may have been welding under way and that the blast may have been caused by fumes or residue from whatever chemical the freestanding tank once held.
Gary Guralny, president of the United Steelworkers Local No. 6992, which represents unionized workers at the plant, told The Buffalo News that part of the facility was damaged and that some sections were evacuated.
The company did not immediately identify the contents of the tank. Police said there were no immediate plans to evacuate the surrounding area.
In a statement, Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont acknowledged there had been an "incident" and that two workers were hurt. The company said it was working with Tonawanda police and fire officials and was conducting its own investigation.
The Tonawanda plant, about eight miles from Buffalo, employs about 700 workers and produces Corian countertops and sinks and Tedlar laminate film used in solar panels, according to Guralny and DuPont's website.