Investigators from the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) concluded that the number of people injured in the fatal accident at the Jacksonville, Fla.-based T2 Laboratories was more than double the number previously reported.
At least 33 people, not 14, were injured in the massive explosion and fire on Dec. 19, according to CSB investigators who determined the final number after conducting over 50 interviews.
Many of these injuries resulted from flying and falling debris due to structural damage to offsite buildings. The original injury reports did not account for people who either sought medical attention on their own or had others drive them to the hospital.
The latest findings were released as the CSB announced it concluded its investigation Jan. 26.
Four workers perished in the explosion. Preliminary findings indicate the accident was caused by a runaway chemical reaction that occurred during the production of a gasoline additive called methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl (MCMT or Ecotane). The explosion and ensuing fireball caused a 2,000-foot mushroom cloud.
The agency said the next step of the investigation is to perform more lab tests to find out what caused the accident in the first place.
“We will conduct laboratory testing to quantify the amount of heat and pressure released by the reaction,” CSB Supervisory Investigator Robert Hall stated. “Our goal is to discover what went wrong on December 19 and to prevent a similar accident from happening again.”