Report: Upkeep Deferred in Kentucky Plant Hit by Blast

By BRUCE SCHREINER | February 8, 2013

A federal agency looking into a deadly chemical plant explosion and fire in Louisville, Ky., says crucial maintenance was deferred on an electric furnace that blew up. It says similar but smaller incidents had been ignored at the Carbide Industries plant.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board on Thursday released its draft report into the March 21, 2011, explosion in the Rubbertown area. Two workers died and two others were injured.

The agency’s chairman says the blast was a “case study into the tragic, predictable consequences” of running equipment until it fails.

The agency says the explosion was likely caused when the furnace became over-pressured. The furnace spewed molten calcium carbide, powdered debris and hot gases. The two workers died from burns.

The plant produces calcium carbide, used in metal fabrication and construction.

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