Plant Explosion Turns Deadly

One worker is dead and at least three others are injured Tuesday after an explosion at the Daikin America chemical plant in Decatur, Ala., reports CBS Affiliate WHNT-TV in Huntsville, Ala.

Morgan County Coroner Russ Beard said he pronounced 29-year-old Jeffrey Don Prater of Trinity dead at Decatur General Hospital around 11:30 a.m. He said the worker had been severely burned.

Birmingham University Hospital spokesman Hank Black said two severely burned women were transported to the Burn and Trauma Center via air. Black said the workers are 41-year-old Bonnie Bowling and 32-year-old Christy Marks.

He said they are in critical condition.

Black said a fourth victim of the accident was en route to the burn center via ambulance.

Cliff Adams, executive vice president of manufacturing, said the chemical involved in the explosion was tetrafluroethelyne, or T.F.E., a liquid mix of chemicals used to make plastics.

He said a pipeline carrying the gas runs near where the explosion occurred. He had no further information about the accident.

The chemical plant, located in the Mallard Fox Creek Industrial Park, reported the fire at 8:55 a.m. Tuesday. Emergency management officials say the plant is now secure.

Black smoke began billowing from the plant after the explosion. Firefighters brought it under control quickly and no evacuation was required.

Daikin America, which employs about 240 workers, makes a variety of products, including non-stick surfaces for cookware and plastic coatings for wires in automobiles.