An explosion and fire at a paint manufacturer on April 8 in Columbus, Ohio, killed one person and injured nine others. Some of the injured were able to get out of the Yenkin-Majestic Paint plant, while others were rescued and taken to the hospital.
The employee who was killed was found in the rubble of the collapsed building after the fire was extinguished. Wendell Light was a press-room supervisor for the company, which manufactures paints and other industrial coatings that include acrylics, epoxies, primers and urethanes.
According to the Chemical Safety Board (CSB), 21 employees were reported to have been in the facility at the time of the incident, which resulted in more than $1 million in property damage. The CSB said the OPC Polymer unit, which collapsed, was engaged in normal operations at the time of the incident. The material being produced was manufactured in a batch process. Materials stored on-site include maleic anhydride, phthalic anhydride, xylene and mineral spirits.
After reviewing security video, the CSB developed a more precise time of the incident. The first event (loss of containment) occurred at 12:02 a.m. EDT (system time), and the video cameras stopped recording at 12:04 a.m. EDT (system time).
Yenkin-Majestic provided the investigation team with an overview of the resin manufacturing process, which is called alkyd resin manufacturing. Materials are mixed in a metallic kettle that contains an agitator and is heated by a furnace before it goes to a scale tank and then to product storage. There are a total of six kettles: four are heated by gas furnaces and two are steam heated.
The incident occurred during the batch production in Kettle #3, which has a rated capacity of 20,900 lb and is heated by a gas furnace. The fire suppression system in a portion of the paint production facility was activated during the event. The investigation team verified there was no fire event in the adjacent paint production facility. The east wall of the paint production facility sustained damaged as a result of the explosion event in the adjacent OPC Resin facility.
As of April 13, the CSB finalized the Evidence and Site Control (ESCA) document and conducted interviews with managers, company leadership, engineers and operators.
Yenkin-Majestic engaged the services of a structural engineer to assess the structural integrity of the OPC Resin facility.