In the most recent update on the Omaha plant accident that occurred early Monday morning, two people have now been confirmed dead. While police and rescue officials were not releasing any information on fatalities, they now say that the rescue mission has been updated to a recovery operation.
With at least two fatalities and 10 more injuries, interim fire chief Bernie Kanger is still searching for answers as to what caused the accident. Early reports considered the plant damage to be caused by an explosion due to the smoke and fire, but not official confirmations have been made.
Searching for the Cause
The initial accident occurred around 10:00 A.M. this morning at the International Nutrition plant in Omaha. A Forklift operator, Kendrick Houston, spoke to reports, stating that as he returned to the plant's main floor, the ground began to tremble and shake. He heard a loud crackling sound, the lights suddenly shut off and a spark lead to a big ball of flame. Debris poured down as smoke and dust swirled around the main floor.
Houston and the other workers around him made a break for the door, making a quick escape. He ran back in to see if he could help anyone left behind, but the smoke and fire was too strong. Other workers made their escape through a different exit.
Not the First Accident
As previously discovered, this was not the first issue International Nutrition has dealt with at the Omaha plant. In 2002, a man was crushed to death by a mixing machine, resulting in a citation of five immediate violations, with one cited during the final investigation.
OSHA also cited the plant in 2012 for violations involving medical services, machine requirements, wiring methods and equipment components. As officials are still trying to determine the cause of the accident, these past violations may start to shed light on the matter.
Families Still Waiting for Names to Be Released
With two confirmed dead, family members and friends of the plant employees are still waiting for names and more answers. Officials plan to have several more press conferences once information has been finalized and all victims inside the plant have been recovered.
Kanger believes that there is no chance that any individual still caught in the rubble could still be alive, leaving families anxious to hear more information on their loved ones. No family members of the lost workers have been notified at this time.
The next press conference is scheduled for 8:00 P.M. this evening. Check back with our blog for more updates on the Omaha plant accident.