GRANITE CITY, Ill., March 7 (UPI) -- At least 10 people were injured, two of them critically, in an explosion Thursday at an Amsted Rail manufacturing plant in Granite City, Ill., authorities said.
All 10 of the injured workers were initially taken to Gateway Regional Medical Center in Granite City where seven were treated for smoke inhalation, and three were then airlifted to hospitals in St. Louis, Gateway spokeswoman Kate Allaria told the St. Louis Business Journal.
Two men were listed in critical condition at Mercy Hospital St. Louis in Creve Coeur, Mo., The (Belleville, Ill.) News-Democrat reported.
United Steelworkers of America Local 1063 President Robert Lott told The News-Democrat he was about 100 yards away from the explosion at Amsted Rail's American Steel Foundries, and identified two of the more seriously injured workers as Reginald Golliday, a 17-year employee of the company, and Danny Wilson, who has worked at the plant for 10 years.
Granite City Fire Department Assistant Chief Jim Snelson said the department received a report of an explosion at 8:10 a.m. He said the cause of the blast was likely a gas leak.
Several of the injured were burned by the explosion but Snelson said the blast did not set off a fire at the plant, which manufactures railroad freight car undercarriage components and other freight rail industry parts.
A U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration official said OSHA has begun an investigation into the explosion.