Four Killed in Illinois Plastic
April 26, 2004
An explosion at the Formosa Plastics Plant in the central Illinois
town of Illiopolis, killed four workers and injured 6 others, some
critically. The blast was so strong that over a thousand residents
were forced to evacuate their homes.
Workers were mixing vinyl chloride
and vinyl acetate when an explosion occurred, followed by one or
two subsequent blasts, Sangamon County Sheriff Neil Williamson said.
Eighteen workers were in the plant at the time.
50 to 75 percent of the plant was demolished
by the explosion. The impact could be felt over a mile away.
The explosions occurred at about 10:45
p.m. Friday evening , said Illinois Emergency Management Agency
spokeswoman Patti Thompson. The cause of the explosions was unclear.
"I'm not a war veteran, but that
is the loudest explosion I've ever heard in my life," said
Illiopolis Mayor Allen Brickey, who lives less than two miles from
A 20-mile section of Interstate 72
was closed for about six hours after the explosion, said Patti Thompson,
a spokeswoman with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
Dozens of firefighters Saturday night
were still working to put out fires at the plant. Officials said
they didn't expect the fires to be out until Sunday.
The Formosa Plastic plant, with about
135 workers, manufactures polyvinyl chloride used in PVC pipe and
other materials for construction, medical supplies and automotive