From staff and wire reports
Preliminary investigations indicate molten aluminum hitting water caused explosions that injured more than 30 employees at a Southeast Missouri aluminum plant. The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the explosions that occurred Tuesday at Noranda. OSHA officials said preliminary findings suggest molten aluminum came into contact with water, causing the explosions. 33 workers were hurt, but Noranda spokesman John Parker said none of the injuries were critical. A large plume of smoke after the explosions could be seen for miles, and a Southeast Missourian reporter on the scene Tuesday saw the metal service building’s south wall was ripped apart by the blasts. Rhonda Burke with OSHA’s St. Louis office says the investigation could take up to six months. Noranda employs about 900 workers in New Madrid County, where the plant serves as the primary aluminum smelter for Franklin, Tennessee-based Noranda.