One Hurt in Ohio Blast Caused by Static Electricity

One food worker was hurt in a blast that caused structural damage to a plant in Defiance.


Feb. 01--DEFIANCE -- A static-electricity spark may have triggered an explosion and fire that injured at least one worker at a food-products plant in Defiance early Friday, authorities said.

The victim remained in a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, according to a statement from SensoryEffects Powder Systems Inc. The victim's name and condition were not released.

The 4:30 a.m. incident at the 111 W. High St. plant closed nearby North Clinton Street for about two hours, according to the Defiance County Sheriff's Office, which said in an earlier statement that two workers had been injured.

That account was supported by Defiance Fire Chief Dave Schmaltz.

A company spokesman could not be reached for comment on the discrepancy on injuries.

Michael Duchesne, a spokesman for the state fire marshal, said the incident remained under investigation, but officials could not rule out a static-electricity spark as the cause. The fire was kept in check by a suppression system, then extinguished by area fire crews, he said.

The explosion caused mostly structural damage, while fire damage was "minimal," the sheriff's office statement said.

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