26 April 2004 22:58 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (CNI)--The US Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) said Monday it will conduct a full investigation of the explosion and fires that killed four workers at the Formosa Plastics Corp (FPC) plant in Illinois.
Saying the Friday night blast that struck the FPC polyvinyl chloride (PVC) production unit at Illiopolis, Illinois is "among the most serious that the CSB has investigated in more than six years," the CSB said it has assigned six investigators to the incident and anticipates a year-long inquiry.
CSB chairwoman Carolyn Merritt cited the loss of life, worker injuries, damage to the plant, impact on the public and the hazards of materials involved as reasons for the CSB to conduct "a full, independent, federal investigation of the root causes of the disaster at Formosa Plastics."
"This investigation will continue," she said, "until we understand what happened, why it happened, and how best to prevent it from ever happening again."
She said three CSB investigators are already at the damaged plant, interviewing survivors, other witnesses and emergency responders. Three more CSB investigators are to travel from CSB headquarters in Washington, DC to Illinois to assist in the collection of forensic evidence and the reviewing of company records, procedures and safety criteria.
Although the investigation is expected to take up to a year "or more," Merritt said that "As we develop preliminary findings in this case, we will provide that information to the affected community." When the investigation is completed, she added, CSB will issue a final report.
Illiopolis is located about 25 miles east of Springfield, the state capital, in central Illinois.
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