Rubbertown residents & Carbide employees react to explosion - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Rubbertown residents & Carbide employees react to explosion findings

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB)---"There was so many warning signs before this and it just didn't have to happen," says one member of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board.

Before a packed room, members of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board laid out the red flags that they say were ignored leading up to the 2011 Carbide Industries explosion.

Federal investigators laid out two possible contributing factors for the March 2011 explosion, including water leaks on the electric arc furnace cover, and wear on the furnace cover.

"Additionally, Carbide Industries issued 26 work orders for water leaks on the furnace cover, but the facility chose to continue operating," says Johnnie Banks, the lead investigator for the U.S. Chemical Safety Board.

Investigators say Carbide tried to use oats and a boiler solution to patch the holes, with plans to install a new furnace cover later in the year.

For community members and employees who attended the meeting on Thursday, it was emotional to hear that the warning signs were ignored at Carbide Industries.

"The government must require these facilities to protect life and quality of life to the best of their ability," Ebony Cochran told the Chemical Safety Board.

"And seeing that there was 26 asked work orders, whatever you want to call them, to correct some of these hazards and those were ignored, my personal opinion is that's criminal," says Gordon Nichols.

Employee Rick Bardon says there have been safety changes at the plant following the explosion.

"And I'm proud of them for that," he says.

He just hopes this doesn't ever happen again. Nearby community couldn't agree more.

"And it's very disheartening to think that it takes something like two people dying," says Becki Winchel.

As for Carbide Industries, the general manager continues to say they have addressed the safety recommendations, and have implemented other policies and safeguards as well.

The CSB Board approved the final report and recommendations at the public meeting on Thursday evening.

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