Six people are dead and 42 were injured in an explosion Thursday night at Imperial Sugar Co.'s refinery in Port Wentworth, Georgia, northwest of Savannah, according to media reports.
There were about 100 workers in the area and a “good majority” of the facility has been damaged by smoke and fire, Captain Matthew Stanley of the local fire department said today. Six bodies have been found, Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine told CNN, according to a Bloomberg.com report.
Imperial Sugar, the U.S. maker of Imperial, Dixie and Holly sweeteners, said in a statement that the blast happened about 7 p.m. local time yesterday, and the Port Wentworth refinery, the company’s largest, is shut.
The injured have been taken to local hospitals, Sugar Land, Texas-based Imperial said. Eight were flown to a burn center in Augusta, Georgia, the Associated Press reported.
The blast in a silo, where refined sugar is stored before being packaged, was caused by “a sugar dust explosion,” the AP cited Imperial Chief Executive Officer John Sheptor as saying.
A six-member investigative team from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is deploying to the site of the explosion.