5 workers hurt in explosion at Georgia aluminum plant

AP News
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Posted: Jun 29, 2016 1:39 PM

NEWNAN, Ga. (AP) — An explosion at an aluminum plant injured five workers and rocked buildings up to a mile away in a city about 35 miles southwest of Atlanta on Wednesday, authorities said.

The blast at Bonnell Aluminum in Newnan, Georgia, shook buildings in the city's downtown area, The Newnan Times-Herald reported. Images from television helicopters showed a gaping hole in the plant's roof, surrounded by pieces of crumpled metal.

One of the injured employees was flown to Atlanta Medical Center, and two others were taken to a local hospital, Bonnell Aluminum officials said in a statement. The other two employees were treated at the scene, the statement said.

Their injuries ranged from "life-threatening to walking wounded," Coweta County Fire Marshal Craig Sherrer was quoted by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as saying.

"At this time, it's too early to speculate on what caused the accident but we are working closely with local fire officials and others to conduct a thorough investigation," the company said in the statement. The company said it has temporarily shut down operations until it can assess the situation.

"I just heard a big old blast," witness Erica Moss told WSB-TV. "It sounded like something was shooting. That's what it sounded like, like someone was shooting like 50,000 times."

Bonnell has been a leading manufacturer of custom aluminum products since 1955, according to its website. Headquartered in Newnan, the company also has manufacturing operations in Carthage, Tennessee; Niles, Michigan; and in Elkhart, Indiana.

Company officials said they hoped to have an update on the situation later Wednesday.

The explosion also damaged a building at another business, Sewell Marine, and caused a small fire in a boat on the lot, which was quickly extinguished, the Newnan newspaper reported.