INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Nine workers at a Rolls-Royce aircraft-engine assembly plant near the
Indianapolis International Airport were injured Friday when a tank of nitric
acid exploded and filled the building with a cloud of corrosive vapor,
None of the workers
suffered life-threatening injuries when the 250-gallon tank exploded about
1:30 p.m., Capt. Mike Pruitt of the Wayne Township Fire Department said. The
explosion released a vapor cloud that left the workers with burns and
complaints were that they had inhaled it and they had some acid burns. It’s
a corrosive acid,” he said.
Pruitt said eight
workers were taken to local hospitals. Seven were in good condition, and the
eighth is stable and had no serious injuries. The ninth person was treated
at the scene.
The cause of the
explosion - and how much acid was released - remains under investigation by
Rolls-Royce and fire officials, Pruitt said. He said the injured workers
will be interviewed to determine how the explosion may have occurred and
what they were doing before the blast.
The plant was
evacuated immediately after the explosion, but the vapor later dissipated
and Rolls-Royce staff members were allowed back inside.
spokesman Joel Reuter said the tank containing the acid exploded either as
it was being moved or shortly after it had been moved by a device used to
transport equipment inside the plant.
determining whether it was actually moving or what, but it was in some in
type of transportation mode,” he said.
Reuter said the
plant’s workers assemble engines for military and commercial aircraft.
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health says nitric acid is corrosive
and the vapor or mist form can irritate the eyes, nose, throat and skin.
High concentrations of vapor can severely burn the eyes and skin.