Tags: feed | Omana | explosion | trapped

Omaha Fire Chief: Some Have Died in Animal Feed Plant Blast

Image: Omaha Fire Chief: Some Have Died in Animal Feed Plant Blast Firefighters at the scene of an explosion at the International Nutrition plant in Omaha on Jan. 20.

Monday, 20 Jan 2014 07:16 PM

 

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Omaha authorities confirm two people died and 10 others were seriously hurt in an explosion and partial building collapse at International Nutrition, an animal feed processing plant Monday morning.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine says he's been notified about two deaths in Monday's explosion. It's unclear if the death toll will rise as crews sift through the rubble of the plant.

Interim Omaha Fire Chief Bernie Kanger says the search is progressing slowly because the structure is unsafe. Kanger said he doesn't believe anyone remaining inside is alive but officials haven't said how many people didn't make it out. Thirty-eight people were working.

Officials say two died, 10 were hospitalized and seven were hurt but refused treatment. They have not said how many of the 19 others escaped.

Omaha-based International Nutrition declined to comment to The Associated Press.

Workers' family members who gathered outside the plant said they'd received cellphone calls from loved ones inside who told them one or two people may be missing or trapped.

Kanger said he's requested aid from urban search and rescue experts based in Lincoln, so the search could take several more hours.

There appears to be structural damage to the top of the building, which sits in an industrial area visible from Interstate 80, which bisects Nebraska's largest city. There are no residences nearby and no other buildings were evacuated after the explosion.

Diane Stout said she'd heard from her husband, a manager on the plant maintenance crew, so she knows he's OK, but she and her two daughters were still anxiously waiting to see him because he has heart problems.

The workers all know each other well, Stout said, so she was hoping to hear good news about friends there.

Sarah White said she was at home with her four children when she got a call from her husband right after the explosion.

"I could hear the panic in his voice," she said. "But he said he was OK." She said he'd been watching trucks unload from outside the building when the blast occurred.

"That's where he works every day. That could have been him," White said, referring to the injured workers.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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