An explosion at a chemical plant in Ohio injured three individuals, with one person experiencing life-threatening burns.

All three injured people are expected to survive.

The “tragic industrial accident” occurred at Royal Chemical Company in Macedonia late Wednesday morning.

“Officials says workers were in the process of loading a tanker truck with sodium hydroxide, when the truck exploded, ripping the tanker in half,” Cleveland 19 News reports.

“We know it involves sodium hydroxide,” Macedonia Fire Chief Brian Ripley told reporters, according to FOX 8.

“We’re not exactly sure what happened yet,” he added.

The cause of the blast is under investigation.

FOX 8 reports:

Sodium hydroxide is a caustic chemical made of solid white crystals, which can burn eyes and skin, according to the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety.

Ripley said the tanker truck that exploded was parked next to two others outside the building, while it was being loaded. The driver of the truck parked in between the two others and was “sprayed with product,” suffering “critical, life-threatening burns” and was transported to a Cleveland hospital, he said.

Another person, a worker at the plant who ran inside after the explosion, was transported to the same hospital with “critical but non-life-threatening” injuries, Ripley said. Officials later learned the driver of the truck that exploded was also injured. He was being evaluated Wednesday afternoon, he said.

In an update Wednesday afternoon, officials said all three people injured are expected to survive.

Both of the company’s buildings were evacuated.

Footage sent back from SkyFOX showed a truck whose tank appeared to have been ripped open. Ripley said half of the tank ended up inside the building.

Cleveland 19 News reported that Royal Chemical has a history of violations.

Per Cleveland 19 News:

Between 2017 to 2019, records show the EPA found Royal “failed to submit pesticide reports.” These violations were then corrected, and the company received a formal warning.

Between 2013 to 2016, OSHA found Royal Chemical failed to properly train workers on how to use respiratory protection. The issues were subsequently resolved, and no fines were issued.

Between 2013 and 2019, OSHA cited the company for not giving face mask fit tests to employees who were required to wear these masks for protection from hazardous substances. The issues were corrected, and no penalty was given.

Then in 2022, Royal was fined $4,930.80 when OSHA found a forklift in need of serious brake and pedal repairs. Reports show the lift truck was still in service, exposing employees to potential hazards.

The company specializes in transporting chemicals from its plant.

“Ripley said fire officials believed some of the chemical was released into a small creek on the east side of the Royal Chemical facility, but officials later confirmed that the waterways haven’t been affected,” FOX 8 noted.

Concerned residents reportedly contacted Mayor Nick Molnar’s office and he said the area was safe.

“The people that live in our community are safe. There’s nothing in the air at this point that anyone should be concerned about. Anyone living in this area or traveling through should know you are safe,” he said.

How can they be certain?

Ripley said the company contracted its own cleanup crew.

Residents should take precautions they decide are best for them and their families.

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