Officials say aerosol plant blasts accidental |

Officials say aerosol plant blasts accidental

The Associated Press

MINDEN, Nev. (AP) – Explosions that severely injured five workers at a Minden aerosol recycling plant were accidental, fire investigators have concluded.

But officials were still trying to determine the cause of the Monday night blast at Depressurized Technologies International Inc.

The victims suffered second- and third-degree burns.

Jaime Gonzales, 34, and Susano Lopez, 28, were flown to the burn unit at University of Medical Center in Las Vegas. Elias San Juan, 21, Cellio San Juan, 21, and Raul Gonzalez, 25, were taken to UC-Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.

All remained in critical condition.

East Fork Fire District Capt. Terry Taylor said aerosol propellant vapors containing butane and propane were the fuels that ignited, but the ignition source remained unknown.

State, county and insurance company investigators Wednesday were trying to determine the cause, Taylor said.

Chris Davis, northern Nevada district manager for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said the agency is looking into whether the Spanish-speaking workers were given safety instructions in their native language as required by law.

Company owner Walter Gonzalez said instruction was properly provided.

”We’re looking into all these issues and will have a report as soon as possible,” Davis said.

State Fire Marshal Dennis Ely said his agency hadn’t inspected the building since the company moved in April 1, adding inspections are made six to 10 months after a business moves into an existing building.

Local fire officials also said they hadn’t done an inspection. Taylor said the district does a thorough inspection of new buildings as part of the county’s design review process.

Because of the lack of information about the building and the business, Taylor said fire officials didn’t know what materials were inside when they arrived on the scene.

That could be rectified if Douglas County issued business licenses, requiring a permit and inspection process, Taylor said.

The facility was inspected by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection in August and passed, officials said.

Depressurized Technologies is exempt from hazardous materials inspections because the materials stored on the site are in the same category as household waste, state environmental officials said.

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