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Explosion in Ohio; life-threatening injuries reported

An ambulance. (Monkey Business Images/Dreamstime/TNS)
May 16, 2024

Three individuals were injured in a major explosion at a chemical plant in Macedonia, Ohio, on Wednesday. One of the individuals received “life-threatening injuries” in the explosion.

According to Cleveland 19 News, Macedonia Fire Chief Brian Ripley confirmed that Wednesday’s explosion resulted in a tanker truck being ripped in half at the Royal Chemical building in Macedonia.

Ripley explained that the explosion took place as employees were loading a truck near the building and that the chemical involved in the explosion had been identified as sodium hydroxide.

According to Fox 8, the Macedonia fire chief noted that the tanker truck was parked alongside two other trucks during the loading process and that the driver of one of the trucks was “sprayed with product,” which resulted in “critical, life-threatening burns.” The driver was later transported to a Cleveland hospital for medical treatment.

Ripley explained that another chemical plant worker was also hospitalized with “critical but non-life-threatening” injuries. Authorities later reported that the driver of the tanker truck that exploded was also injured in the incident and was being evaluated.

READ MORE: Video/Pic: Major explosion, fire in Connecticut

The Macedonia fire chief described Wednesday’s explosion, which is currently under investigation, as a “tragic industrial accident.” 

“We know it involves sodium hydroxide,” Ripley said. “We’re not exactly sure what happened yet.”

Fox 8 reported that sodium hydroxide is a corrosive chemical but is not flammable. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), sodium hydroxide can harm individuals who come into contact with the chemical. The organization’s website states, “It can burn the eyes, skin, and inner membranes, and cause temporary hair loss.”

Macedonia Mayor Nick Molnar told reporters that local residents were safe from any potential chemical exposure, according to WHIO TV7. “(It) is completely safe to drink the water and breathe the air,” Molnar stated. “So, I want to make sure everyone knows that we are safe in terms of that right now.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, officials reported that all three of the individuals who were injured in the explosion were expected to recover, according to Fox 8.

Videos posted on X, formerly Twitter, by Forsige Breaking News show the aftermath of Wednesday’s explosion in Ohio. One of the videos shows the remains of the tanker truck, while the other two videos show flames and smoke rising from the scene of the explosion.

This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.