Indiana Investigating Ammonia Leak At Fertilizer Plant

State is investigating an explosion at a fertilizer distribution plant that left three hospitalized, including one critically, and caused an ammonia leak.

GOSHEN, Ind. (AP) -- The state is investigating an explosion at a northern Indiana fertilizer distribution plant that left three hospitalized a day later, including one critically at a Fort Wayne hospital, and caused an ammonia leak.

Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators were at T & T Fertilizer southwest of Goshen on Tuesday, IOSHA spokeswoman Chetrice Mosley said. Authorities say four workers of T & T Fertilizer and Southwest Welding in Goshen were injured when a tank exploded during welding Monday.

St. Joseph Hospital nursing supervisor Mike Bohnke said Adrian Martin, 24, of Goshen was in critical condition and Ricky Schrock, 56, of Constantine, Mich., and 16-year-old Anthony Rodes of Goshen were in serious condition. Rodes had been listed in critical condition earlier Tuesday. Dean Myers, 61, of Goshen was treated and released, Elkhart County Sheriff's Capt. James Bradberry said.

A person answering the telephone at Southwest Welding identified them as employees identified Martin and Rodes as employees there. There was no answer at T & T Fertilizer on Tuesday.

Authorities said the explosion caused about 2,000 gallons of ammonia to leak from the tank. Rob Elstro, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, said most of the leaked ammonia was contained by a concrete pad and wall that surrounds the tank where the leak occurred. He said some ammonia spilled over the side onto surrounding gravel. That gravel was scraped up and put on another concrete slab and was being cleaned Tuesday, he said.

The runoff from that was put into T & T application trucks and being applied to nearby farmland "to help with some local farmers," Elstro said.

A review of OSHA records showed that neither T & T Fertilizer nor Southwest Welding had any safety violations over the past five years. Neither had notified IOSHA about the accident within eight hours of the accident as required by law, Mosley said. IOSHA was notified of the accident by IDEM, she said. She said the potential fine for failing to report an accident depends on the findings of the investigation.

She said the department had not been notified that one of the injured was a 16-year-old. But she said in any accident in which someone under age 18 is injured, the state Department of Labor's Child Labor Division investigates.

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