Fuel Explosion at Atlas Castings

Oct. 8, 2007
Three injured as blast rips Tacoma, WA, foundry
An explosion at Atlas Castings & Technology in Tacoma, WA, on October 6 injured three foundry workers, according to area news reports. At least one of the workers suffered burns from the incident, which reportedly was caused by a tanker-truck explosion that ignited propane storage tanks at the plant. The driver of a propane fuel-delivery truck was burned in the blast, and subsequently died.. In a statement to customers, Tom Armstrong, CEO of AmeriCast Technologies, explained: "Fortunately, there were no serious injuries to AmeriCast employees. Two of our plant employees did receive injuries but were treated and released from the hospital." Atlas Castings was acquired earlier this year by AmeriCast Technologies for an undisclosed price. "There was major damage to electrical, lighting, and windows," Armstrong continued. "The power company is working hard to restore most of the electrical to the facility. Some of the power is now back online. " The CEO reports that crews are assessing "any potential structural damage to the molding, melting, and heat-treatment facilities," and added that further information will follow a complete assessment. He cautioned the plant's customers that there may be disruptions to some deliveries from the Tacoma plant, but that the company would make direct communication to affected customers. Fire officials speculate a propane leak during a fuel transfer was responsible for the blast. Flames shot several hundred feet into the air, and nearby highways were closed as fire crews worked into the night to extinguish the flames and keep them from spreading to other parts of the operation. Atlas Casting produces steel castings for the oil and gas, nuclear power, and fossil-fuel power generation industries, as well as for the U.S. Navy. In addition to the foundry in Tacoma, Atlas operates a machining facility in Chehalis, WA.