An explosion and partial building collapse Monday at International Nutrition plant has caused multiple people to be injured and other could be trapped.
Thirty-eight employees were inside the Industrial Nutrition plant at 10 a.m. when the explosion and collapse occurred. Nine people were transported to local hospitals,
The fire that followed the explosion has been extinguished, but firefighters are searching the structure and fear more debris could come down.
Interim Omaha Fire Chief Bernie Kanger said he’s not sure how many workers could be trapped in the Omaha animal feed processing plant. He told local station WOWT, “some employees are still unaccounted for.”
“It’s very extreme conditions” inside the plant now, Kanger said. “There is significant structural damage inside.”
Firefighters aren’t sure what led to the accident and were investigating the possibility of an explosion. Rescuers saw flames and smoke as they approached the plant.
No hazardous chemicals were on the premises, Kanger said. Search efforts were complicated by the extent of the damage at the plant, he said.
There appears to be structural damage to the top of the building, which sits in an industrial area visible from Interstate 80. There are no residences nearby and no other buildings were evacuated after the explosion.
A former employee told Lincoln Star Journal that just after noon he’d heard from a former co-worker rescuers were still looking for two people.
He said the only grain he knew of that would be inside were rice hulls, which are used as a feed supplement.
Officials have contacted Nebraska’s Urban Search and Rescue Team, based in Lincoln, to send 20 people in the building and search for casualties. A chaplain has also been called to the scene to speak with families of employees.
“OPD praying for workers and families of all involved in this industrial accident,” the department tweeted, adding fire investigators have a “big job ahead of them today.”
Officials say a 3 p.m. press conference is planned.
Workers were being released from the scene of the accident around 1 p.m.
According to the company’s website, International Nutrition has operated globally for more than 20 years and in the United States for more than 40, working with animal health distributors, feed manufacturers and producers.
Omaha building collapse
Rescue crews and firefighters are on the scene of a reported explosion and building collapse in Omaha.
Some May Be Trapped After Omaha Explosion
At least 10 people have been hospitalized and others could be trapped after an explosion and partial building collapse Monday at an Omaha animal feed processing plant.
Multiple Casualties in Omaha Building Collapse
Thirty-eight workers were inside International Nutrition, near 77th and I Streets, when it collapsed just after 10 a.m. Monday. Multiple people were injured.