MINDEN - Five workers at a Douglas County aerosol plant were "seriously" burned Monday night in at least five and up to 15 explosions that blew the roof from a two-story building at an industrial park off Airport Road.
According to Richard Mirgon, Douglas County emergency management director, engines responded to a call of fire and explosions at Depressurized Technologies International Inc., 2185 Park Place, in the Meridian Business Park, about 7:40 p.m.
"When crews arrived on scene there were subsequent explosions and the five patients were transferred with burns," Mirgon said.
A witness who saw the explosion from Highway 395 said that when he reached the scene the victims who were all men that barely spoke English were already outside of the building.
Another witness on the scene then called 911 from a cell phone and firefighters arrived in only minutes.
The five unidentified workers were taken by CareFlight helicopter to area hospitals suffering from third-degree burns, he said. The victims were then taken to specialty burn units, two of them went to UMC in Las Vegas and the other three went to UC Davis.
Mirgon said they appeared to be the only people in the building at the time of the explosions.
According to their Web site, DTI converts discarded aerosol cans into recyclable material "essentially turning hazardous waste into a recyclable."
A hazardous materials team arrived on scene around 9:30 p.m. to enter the building. It is unknown what caused the explosions.
The business, founded in 1994 by Walter Gonzalez, also has a processing plant in Morgan Hill, Calif.