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One dead, at least 13 hospitalized after Ohio factory explodes

 February 21, 2023

Two explosions on Monday afternoon at the I. Schumann & Co. foundry in the Cleveland area have left one person reportedly dead and at least 13 hospitalized.

Three Alarm Fire in northern Ohio village

The inferno was a three alarm fire that happened on Alexander Road, slightly west of Interstate 271 at about 2 p.m., according to Beacon Journal.

Neighboring businesses, streets and vehicles were littered with debris from the blast, according to WEWS.

Witnesses said there was a small explosion first, and then a second, more intense, one took place at about 2:30 p.m., according to WEWS.

At this time, it's not clear what has caused the explosions.

Many of the injuries involved burns

However, the Oakwood Fire Department officials referred to I. Schumann & Co. as a "relatively safe plant," according to WEWS

"It's a foundry, so you're dealing with molten hot metal – so there's always an inherent danger," Oakwood Captain  Brian DiRocco said.

It took hours for firefighters to get the blaze under control and rescue those inside, according to WJW.

"We realized there were several injured people inside the building so we established an EMS sector and began triaging patients," DiRocco said. "A lot of burn injuries like the walking wounded coming up to us."

So far, 13 people have been reported as injured and were rushed to area hospitals.

The one person who died was identified as 46-year-old Steven Mullins of North Ridgeville, according to the Cleveland Remembrance Page.

Businesses damaged

The businesses that were near the scene were told by the police to shelter in place, according to WOIO

Rose Colored Gaming, which is across the street from I Schumann & Co. said debris from the blast hit their building's roof, and damaged some of the cars in their parking lot, according to WOIO.

"Looks like a volcano erupted," a Rose Colored Gaming employee said.

Nathan Vapenick, a construction worker at a site next to the explosion said some tanks flew around two hundred feet in the air, and a shockwave was felt from the explosion.

Company promises to cooperate with investigators

The I. Schumann & Co. foundry released the following statement:

"An explosion of unknown origin struck our Bedford, Ohio facility today resulting in injuries to employees and significant damage to the facility.

Our efforts now are focused on supporting the first responders who came on scene quickly to help our employees.

The safety and health of our employees is our top priority and we commit to ensuring they receive the medical care they need.

We will work alongside investigators in their search for answers as part of our commitment to Northeast Ohio where we have been operating for more than 100 years.

Our thoughts and prayers are with our team members and their families at this difficult time."