A severe accident at the International Nutrition plant in Omaha, Nebraska this morning has left two people confirmed dead so far and another ten hospitalized. Currently, firemen are still working on containing the plant before they continue searching for workers trapped in the building. Reports indicated that part of the building collapsed, but there is no word yet on what might have caused it.
Firefighters immediately arrived at the scene after receiving reports of the building collapse. Their rescue efforts which started early this morning became recovery efforts by midafternoon.
"There was no chance anyone lost in the rubble was still alive," according to Interim Fire Chief Bernard Kanger.
Although two have been confirmed dead so far, Kanger is withholding the total fatality report until a full search of the premises is complete and all the bodies are accounted for. Sources from International Nutrition estimated that anywhere from 12 to 15 people were inside the part of the building that collapsed.
Rescue crews did reportedly notice some fire and smoke when they arrived at the scene, opening up speculation that is was an explosion which caused part of the building to collapse.
Of the 10 individuals who were transported to nearby hospitals for medical treatment, four of them were in critical condition and the remaining six sustained injuries that, while serious, are not life-threatening. Emergency crews indicated that there were an additional seven people injured who refused medical treatment.
One of the workers injured in the plant accident was able to give a statement to the media. He explained that he was working on a production line at the time of the incident. His description of the incident was that "something exploded" at which point he became covered in flames. Currently he is being treated at St. Elizabeth burn center.
Was it an explosion?
People continue to speculate as to what caused the accident, but the word "explosion" continues to be thrown around. Nothing is conclusive until OSHA conducts a thorough investigation. Most plant explosion cases occur at plants that produce or use chemicals during production. This was not the case at International Nutrition, according to Kanger.
The Chief of Trauma at the Nebraska Medical Center said that it's still too early to tell if the survivors will recover completely from their injuries but he is "hoping they'll all do well."
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those injured in the International Nutrition plant accident as well as the families of the deceased. For more on this developing story, visit Omaha.com.