Hospital officials say two men injured in an explosion at the Ford Sandblasting plant are in critical condition.
The McIntosh County Sheriff’s Department says the blast happened one mile west of 69 on highway 9, near Coon Creek Road.
School officials say nearby Eufaula elementary and middle schools were evacuated as a precaution.
The school released this statement:
As a Precaution, the Eufaula Fire and Police Departments have requested that Elementary and Middle School Students be evacuated to the High School due to an explosion near the Elementary and Middle school sites. Parents, the elementary students may be picked up in the High School Gymnasium and the Middle School Students may be picked up in the High School Auditorium.
A worker with the plant tells FOX23 the company was “reworking” the propane tank for a client. He estimates it was a 250-gallon tank that was about half full.
He said shortly after noon, as workers were loading the tank onto a trailer with a forklift the tank got away from them and rolled off the forklift and broke a valve. Propane gas began spewing from the tank and an unknown number of workers ran from the warehouse.
The worker also told FOX23 after the fallen propane tank and broken valve didn’t immediately cause an explosion, two of the workers ran back into the warehouse. That’s when the worker says there was a “flash explosion.”
He’s asking the community to pray for them. He said they both have children.
The warehouse held all of the company’s tools, equipment, paint, etc. The worker told FOX23 all of it was destroyed in the fire.
The plant owner tells FOX23 two workers were injured. He says the company sandblasts a little bit of everything and they've been at this location about three months, but in business for on and off for 20 years. He says nothing like this has ever happened.
Highway 9 has been re-opened. The Oklahoma Propane Administration is there and removing all propane tanks.