Friday, June 15, 2007

Elkhart Recycling Plant Explodes

I heard on the radio this morning that a recycling plant exploded late last night. The fire is so bad that firefighters are still working on the scene to control the blaze. Sadly, one man died while trying to escape from the fire. The captain of the fire department said this is one of the worst fires he's seen in a long time.

How will this explosion affect us? Folks who live near to the recycling plant have been asked to conserve water. Firefighters need all the water they can get to squelch those flames. I can't help but wonder what other repercussions will follow now that this recycling facility is gone.

For more details, click here to read the story published in today's South Bend Tribune.


Experimentaholic said...

The story says this isn't the first time the building has been on fire. What kind of recycling do they do there and what chemicals do they use to create such a massive explosion? Weird!

Michelle Verges, Project Director said...

Yah, it is strange. From what I gathered, this plant recycled wood and other paper, the spread of the fire doesn't quite surprise me.

Good call, by the way: This VMI plant was cited for dust violations in 2005.

Hmm...paper, wood, dust, and chemicals all in a plant that may (or may not) be following regulations? Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

I'd also like to know more about the men who were found by the plant last night. Were they VMI employees? Did they have anything to do with this explosion?


Rey B said...

Simple chemistry Michelle wood dust is a highly volatile substance that can and will burn at a very fast rate. Since an explosion is simply that high rate of burning taking place faster than the surroundings can allow it to expand...Kablooey! (pardon the use of technical terms) And once you get things up to a high enough temperature everything burns and it feeds itself. All it takes is a spark in the wrong place and sometimes not even that. See also spontaneous combustion.

Michelle Verges, Project Director said...

Indeed, Rey.

I also learned that the man who died was an employee at the recycling plant. Unfortunately, I can't recall the man's name, but he is from Mexico.

(I feel terrible for not recalling his name, by the way. I went back online to find this information, but haven't had much luck.)