East Texas Seven Injured in Plant Blast

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TYLER, Texas (AP) -- A chemical used in making glue overflowed and caught fire at a manufacturing plant, triggering an explosion that injured seven workers, four critically.

Monday's explosion at National Casein Co. near Winona created 12-foot flames in a shop where glue is mixed, authorities said.

''I was walking inside the door and it (the blast) knocked me out of the building,'' said Charles Young, one of the injured employees. ''I just took off and tried to run. It knocked me out and I hurt my leg. I tried to get away as fast as I could.''

He said he could hear the screams of co-workers.

Four men, including the plant's manager and vice president, were in critical condition Tuesday in the burn unit of Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. A fifth worker was in good condition at another hospital, while Young and another man were treated and released.

Fire Marshal Jim Seaton said a flash fire erupted as workers were making glue and the mixture overflowed.

''They took the lid off to try and figure out what happened, and the mixture got to the open flame on the cooking furnace,'' Seaton said.

A similar accident happened in 1997 when a chemical in a tank overflowed and ignited other chemicals, he said. The fire caused extensive damage but no one was injured.

AP-NY-09-12-00 0829EDT< 

-- Rachel Gibson (rgibson@hotmail.com), September 12, 2000

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