Oklahoma Plant Still Closed After Blast

November 7, 2008

A scrap metal yard near in Arkoma, Okla., near the border with Arkansas, remained closed after an artillery shell exploded, critically injuring an Arkansas man.

Steve Fontenot, of Fort Smith, Ark., man was still in critical condition Nov. 5, two days after he was hurt in the blast at Yaffe Iron and Metal in Arkoma.

Fontenot was attempting to salvage the brass from one of the shells by cutting into it with a blow torch when the shell exploded, said Glenn Yaffe, president of Yaffe Iron and Metal.

Yaffe said his company bought the shells from the military and was told they were non-explosive.

Fontenot was taken to a Fort Smith hospital, but Yaffe said he does not know the extent of his injuries.

The 30 or so employees of the plant were transferred to the company’s other sites. It owns 14 scrap yards in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

Authorities told Yaffe that about 1,000 inert shells have been removed from the metal yard.

Information from: The Oklahoman, www.newsok.com

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