EAST FLAT ROCK, N.C. (AP) - An explosion and fire at a ceramics plant sent three workers to a hospital and forced the evacuation of a handful of nearby homes, authorities said.
Firefighters took about 40 minutes to put out flames Tuesday afternoon at the Greenleaf Corp. factory, which makes industrial ceramics and cutting tools. About 15 percent of the building was consumed, said Henderson County emergency management director Rocky Hyder.
Hyder said the fire involved the chemical hexane, a flammable gas used daily in the production of ceramic cutting tools. Eight to 10 homes within 1,000 feet of the plant were evacuated for a couple of hours as a precaution, though the wind dissipated the chemical and air quality was not believed to be at risk.
The workers were taken to a hospital for evaluation, Hyder said.
The company has fewer than 20 employees in its 15,000-square-foot plant, according to an Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce guide.