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Two Desert Whale Jojoba Company Employees Remain Hospitalized with Burn Injuries as Investigation Continues Into Tucson Plant Explosion


Two workers remain hospitalized in a Phoenix burn unit, as officials continue to investigate the cause of  an explosion that destroyed the Desert Whale Jojoba Company’s processing plant in downtown Tucson, Arizona, nearly two weeks ago.

Both employees are reported to be in critical but stable condition.

“It Was a Hollywood Type Explosion.”

The explosion at the Desert Whale processing plant on Tucson’s south side was reported shortly before midnight on November 8th.

The force of the blast blew the roof off the building and caused the partial collapse of the facility.

Forty firefighters, 19 units, including 3 aerial ladder trucks, spent more than 2 hours working to contain the resulting fire and prevent it from spreading to nearby buildings.

“It was a Hollywood type explosion,” Tucson Fire Captain Andy Skaggs told ABC News 4. “Hollywood producers, if they had foresight, would have surrounded that building with cameras because they absolutely would have been able to use that explosion in a movie. It was that devastating.”

Two Desert Whale Employees Sustained Critical Burns

Six employees were working at the facility at the time. All managed to escape the resulting fire.

Five Desert Whale employees were transported to a Tucson hospital.  Three have since been released. Two who sustained critical burns were later airlifted to the Arizona Burn Center in Phoenix.

The wife of one of the hospitalized workers told Tucson Now that her husband, Isidro Olvera, suffered burns to over half of his body, including his abdomen, chest, forearms, hands, face, back, and thighs.

“He’s still in the critical stage but he’s been stable throughout the past few days. He had surgery yesterday,” Nayely Olvera said

“I was in shock,” she continued. “I didn’t know exactly what to expect because they told me he was in an explosion and he’s hurt but I didn’t know it was going to be this bad.”

The father of three remains in a medically-induced coma.

“I think the worst has passed but it’s just a waiting game and being patient right now with the process,” Olvera said.

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