Could this have been a static
Hair- Care Plant Fire and Explosions Kills Woman
June 10, 2005
Rantoul, Ill. (AP) -- Alcohol that was used in manufacturing
hair-care products fed a plant fire that killed one person and injured
another, officials said.
Firefighters reported at least six
explosions after arriving at the Conair Corp. plant in this central
Illinois city on Wednesday night. Authorities were investigating
the cause of the fire.
The first explosion occurred in a room
where a form of alcohol is mixed with other raw materials to make
hair-care products, company spokeswoman Stephanie Burris said. The
victim was found near where the explosion took place.
The victim was identified as Erna Uden,
52, of Rankin, Ill.
The other 57 workers were safely evacuated,
Burris said. One worker was treated for minor injuries at the scene.
Worker Mike Eskew said he heard the
first of two quick explosions in the room next to the one where
he was working.
''I thought it was thunder, and then
it happened again.'' Eskew said. ''By the time I knew it wasn't
thunder and it was in the building, I saw flames, and then the alarm
Conair, with offices in Stamford, Conn.,
and East Windsor, N.J., employs 240 people at the plant in Rantoul,
Mayor Neal Williams said.