UPDATE: 1 person killed, 3 hospitalized after explosion at US Ecology site
Karen Lehr, KIVI
Published at | Updated at
U.S. Ecology officials confirm one person is dead and three people have been hospitalized after an explosion inside a building at the US Ecology site near Grand View in in Owyhee County.
Officials say Monte “Alex” Green of Grand View passed away after sustaining injuries during the explosion. Green was reported missing immediately following an explosion and was later located Saturday afternoon. His family members have been notified.
Green was working as an equipment operator moving materials at the time of the accident.
“We are deeply saddened to confirm that there has been one fatality resulting from the accident at our Grand View, Idaho facility today,” U.S. Ecology Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Feeler said. “This is a tragedy that has been felt through the entire US Ecology family and the darkest day in US Ecology’s 66-year history. The entire US Ecology family extends its deepest, heartfelt sympathy to the employees, family members, and loved ones affected by this tragic event. Our focus will now be helping our team members cope with this loss while conducting a thorough investigation and working with authorities as they close out their own investigation.”
GRAND VIEW (KIVI) Officials have confirmed an explosion occurred Saturday morning at the US Ecology Idaho site near Grand View in Owyhee County.
A public information officer for US Ecology says the explosion leaves three people injured with non-life threatening wounds and one person is still unaccounted for.
Emergency response teams are on location working to clean the area after an explosion that happened at 9:23 am Saturday morning inside one of the buildings at the facility. Fifteen US Ecology employees were working during the time of the explosion.
Idaho State Police say initial indications are the building where the explosion happened is used to process powdered magnesium products. Officers initially reported there were two explosions, the first at about 9:15 a.m. and the second an hour later, but further investigation found only one explosion occurred.
“Our immediate thoughts are with families,” said Simon Bell US Ecology Vice President of Operations and Chief Operating Officer. “It’s a very difficult day for US Ecology. Our focus is on the families of those affected by the accident, supporting the first responders, and making sure our employees are cared for and updated on what’s happening in this process.”
US Ecology Idaho houses a facility that processes and converts hazardous inorganic wastes into non-hazardous, delisted residues. The accident occurred during a routine process.
“We’ll be launching an investigation to understand how something like this could happen,” Bell said. “t was a very routine operation so there’s obviously a lot we need to learn to find out what occurred here.”
US Ecology will release more information as it becomes available.