Approximately 20 employees were working at the plant at 8:45 a.m. when an explosion tore siding and insulation from the rear of the building and scattered the debris across a 50-square-foot area. The blast also broke natural gas lines leading to the plant, causing a fire that responders were able to control and extinguish within 15 minutes. Officials believe the blast may have been caused by a boiler explosion.
Fire Chief Greg Lehtimaki said three of the injured employees suffered potentially life-threatening third-degree burns that cover at least 50 percent of their bodies. One of the injured victims is hospitalized in critical condition and two are in serious condition. Four other employees escaped with less severe injuries and were taken to area hospitals.
Officials placed two nearby schools on lockdown after the explosion and also worked to evacuate businesses and homes within a half-mile radius as emergency crews assessed the damage.
G&S Metals, located approximately 60 miles south of Georgia, offers metallurgical services and buys, sells, processes and converts aluminum scrap for auto wheels and brake parts.