GREENVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — One person was injured in an explosion at a manufacturing plant in Greenville Friday night.
The explosion happened around 9:45 p.m. at Dicastal North America, north of J Stafford Drive on the city’s north side, according to Montcalm County Dispatch.
Police said the company runs 24-hour shifts, so there were people working at the time of the explosion. All employees were accounted for and just one person was seriously injured with burns, according to Sgt. Steve DeWitt with the Greenville Department of Public Safety. The patient was taken to a Grand Rapids area hospital.
“The walls of the building exploded and sent debris outward,” said DeWitt. “Items that are normally stacked are spread around the floor and walls. The explosion did actually rupture a water sprinkler system pipes so we have water flowing.”
Several emergency crews could be seen working to put out a large fire that seemed to be at the back of the building. A News 8 crew saw light fixtures and metal hanging off of the walls.
There was extensive damage in the northeast corner, where a fire was still blazing around midnight. DeWitt said that area of the plant was the furnace room, where Dicastal would take large blocks of solid aluminum or magnesium and melt it down.
“One of the challenges that we have with this type of fire is we cannot use water on liquid metal. Aluminum, magnesium reacts violently with water so it’s not a traditional firefighting effort, we can’t just put water on it and put it out. So we have to use dry chemicals or we have to remove the oxygen from the fire. So that’s very challenging,” DeWitt said.
He said there was no concern for environmental or health in the immediate area.
The cause of the explosion is still unknown.
Viewers tell News 8 they could feel the explosion from miles away.
DeWitt said Dicastal’s plant safety officer was on scene, assessing damage and helping firefighters. Dicastal North America manufactures aluminum alloy wheels for automotive, according to its website. It also does melting, casting, heat treating and product testing.
Dicastal North America has experienced fires in the past and was also the subject of an FBI raid in July. It is unclear why the FBI raided the company’s Greenville location.
—News 8’s Amanda Porter contributed to this report.