Carbide Industries manager talks about future of company after explosion

By Jon Chrisos - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Federal investigators are in Louisville looking into what caused a deadly explosion at a chemical plant in Rubbertown. The fiery blast killed two employees at Carbide Industries and hurt two others.

Two small fires continued to burn Wednesday more than two days later. As the wind picked up late Wednesday afternoon, so did the smoke pouring out of Carbide Industries in Southwest Jefferson County. The building that houses the furnace control room has been on fire since the Monday night explosion.

Fire crews and company leaders were prepared for the situation to get worse if bad weather hit. "I think the above was with us on this. The storms split; they went around us," Lake Dreamland Assistant Fire Chief Jody Meiman said.

Earlier in the day, firefighters were able to get inside and snap some pictures at the site of the blast.

"It was very damaged, glass blown out, a lot of debris; a lot of things that were melted," Meiman said.

Plant General Manager John Gant said they hope to get the furnace repaired and get back in business and prosper. He said they might be able to repair the five story building.

For now, he's brought back eight employees to process and package the calcium carbide that's already been through the furnace.

"We've got customers that need calcium carbide; we're the only producer in North America. "We're trying to process carbide and also ship what we've already packaged that's ready to ship," Gant said.

Chemical Safety Board investigators were also at the plant Wednesday looking into what happened. The team is expected to provide an update Thursday morning.

Fire crews continue to keep an eye on the building but aren't fighting the fires because it's not safe. Plant employees will be paid until at least the end of the week.

Copyright 2011 WAVE News. All rights reserved.