COLUMBUS, Ind. (WAVE) – Three employees were injured when a propane tank exploded at an Indiana business.
The Columbus Fire Department was called to a report of a fire at the manufacturing plant Faurecia USA, located at 601 Gladstone Avenue, around 2:10 a.m. Friday, Columbus Fire Department spokesman Capt. Michael Wilson said.
Fire investigators said the explosion happened outside the facility while a Faurecia employee was filling a propane tank for a forklift truck. After the explosion, a fire started in the propane filling area.
Three employees were injured. Wilson said one employee suffered severe burns and was airlifted to a hospital in Indianapolis. The two other employees had minor injuries and were treated at the scene. Officials could not provide an update on their conditions.
Before firefighters arrived, the business had been evacuated and most of the fire had already been put out.
“When we arrived, firefighters had identified that the sprinkler system, which is on the exterior of the building where the explosion occurred, had activated, so that had suppressed the majority of the fire that was located outside of this building,” Wilson said.
Wilson said the damage from the fire was isolated to the exterior materials storage and propane storage area.
Wilson told WAVE 3 News these kinds of situations are rare.
“(With) a propane explosion, you had a release of the product, the compressed liquid propane, and at some point, we’re not sure exactly what caused the explosion to occur,” he said. “But you had that release and then the large flash explosion which caused the injuries and subsequently led to the fire at the facility.”
The cause of the explosion remains under investigation.
WAVE 3 News reached out to Faurecia’s corporate office for comment but has not yet heard back.