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2 Injured When Explosion Sets Off Massive Fire at Michigan Auto Parts Plant

Michigan Plant Explosion Lawyer | Meridian Magnesium Plant Explosion Lawyer

Two workers were injured Wednesday when an explosion set off a massive fire at the Meridian Magnesium plant in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, roughly 80 miles west of Detroit.

“A Miracle” Only 2 Were Injured

The Meridian Magnesium explosion was reported shortly before 1:30 p.m. on May 3, 2018

The blast set off a magnesium fire that has been characterized as the largest fire in the town’s history.

Two workers were transferred to Eaton Rapids Medical Center. Fortunately, they suffered only minor injuries and were released later Wednesday morning.

“Lives were saved,” Eaton Rapids City Manager Aaron Desentz told the Lansing State Journal. “It’s a miracle that only two people were injured and very minor injuries at that.”

Explosion Began Near Conveyor Belt for Magnesium Scraps

Though the fire was brought under control by Wednesday afternoon, a portion of the facility’s rubber roof was still smoldering on Friday morning.

Magnesium fires can’t be extinguished with water, so responders were allowing the blaze to burn itself out.

The 208,000 square foot plant is owned by Meridian Lightweight Technologies.

According to the company’s website, the plant manufactures instrument panels for customers in the auto industry, including BMW, Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Mercedes-Benz.

Desentz told the Lansing State Journal that the explosion and fire began in the “tunnel,” an area where magnesium scraps are placed on a conveyor belt to be melted down.

It’s not yet known what caused the initial explosion.

Meridian Magnesium Announces Layoffs

About 200 people work at the Meridian Magnesium plant, making it the largest employer in Eaton Rapids, a town of just over 5,200 people.

Those workers learned Thursday that many would be laid off indefinitely, as the facility works to rebuild.

“As soon as occupancy is authorized we will begin calling employees back to work and begin cleanup; we hope that begins Friday,” George Asher, Meridian Magnesium’s plant manager, wrote in a letter announcing the layoffs. “It is our intention to return to normal operations as quickly as possible.”

Asher indicated that all employees will be paid for Wednesday and Thursday. They will be able to use paid time off for Friday.

However, the letter included few details regarding job retainment, leaving many workers uncertain about their next steps.

‘Confused, confused about what’s the next step,” Cleveland Blue, 36, told the Lansing State Journal. “Do you look for another job? Do you do unemployment?’

“Every day that you waste off unemployment makes it longer to get a check.”

Meridian Magnesium Has Spotty Safety Record

Wednesday morning’s explosion is not the first to raise safety concerns at Meridian Magnesium.

In an interview with WYSM, a former employee said that fires were a frequent occurrence at the facility.

“Every time there was a fire they told you to get back to work. It wasn’t about your health or if you were okay, it was all about the parts, and how much you can produce and how fast you can produce them,” he asserted.

Data from the Michigan’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MOSHA) indicates that the plant received 7 violations between 2014 and 2016.

In 2014, Meridian was cited for failing to maintain machines and equipment.

Two years later, MOSHA inspectors found that the plant’s machines weren’t properly locked and tilted to avoid injury.

The former employee also maintained that cleanliness was an ongoing issue at the factory.

“There’s sud on the walls, on the machine, on the floor, the floors are slippery from magnesium exploding and being on the floor,” he said. “It’s like a skating rink.”

Were You or Someone You Love Injured in the Meridian Magnesium Explosion? Contact Our Undefeated Plant Explosion Lawyers by Calling 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here for a Free Consultation.

Our Undefeated Plant Explosion Lawyers are investigating the Meridian Magnesium explosion in Michigan and will post additional updates should more information become available.

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