Columbus paint plant explosion and fireplace kill 1, damage 8; trigger unclear

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Damage is identified following an overnight explosion at the Yenkin-Majestic Paint facility on Thursday, April 8, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. One person was killed and several others were injured in an explosion and fire Thursday at the paint maker’s facility in the Ohio capital. Authorities in Columbus were investigating what caused the explosion at the paint shop just after midnight. (Joshua A. Bickel / The Columbus Dispatch via AP)



A retired Yenkin-Majestic Paint employee watches as first responders edit the scene of an overnight explosion at the facility in Columbus, Ohio, Thursday, April 8, 2021. One person was killed and several others were injured in an explosion and fire Thursday at the paint maker’s facility in the Ohio capital. Authorities in Columbus were investigating what caused the explosion in the paint shop just after midnight. (Joshua A. Bickel / The Columbus Dispatch via AP)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – An explosion and fire rocked a paint manufacturer in the Ohio capital early Thursday, killing one person and injuring eight others.

Some of the injured were able to leave the Yenkin Majestic Paint plant in Columbus, authorities said. Others were rescued and taken to hospital. All of them, including two that were initially classified as critical, were stable through late Thursday.

The employee who was killed was found in the rubble of the collapsed building after the fire was extinguished, battalion chief Steve Martin said. The employee was identified as 44-year-old Wendell Light, a press room manager for the family business that makes paints, resins and other coatings.

The company is working with firefighters and occupational safety investigators to determine the cause of the explosion and fire, CEO Andrew Smith said in a statement emailed.

“We are determined to uncover the details behind this tragic accident,” said Smith. “The well-being of our employees is of the utmost importance to our family.”

The company hired environmental contractors to ensure that the drains from the firefighting operations are contained and cleared, and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s Emergency Response Department is overseeing that work, Ohio EPA spokesman Anthony Chenault said in an email.

Damage is identified following an overnight explosion at the Yenkin-Majestic Paint facility on Thursday, April 8, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. One person was killed and several others were injured in an explosion and fire Thursday at the paint maker’s facility in the Ohio capital. Authorities in Columbus were investigating what caused the explosion at the paint shop just after midnight. (Joshua A. Bickel / The Columbus Dispatch via AP)

A retired Yenkin-Majestic Paint employee watches as first responders edit the scene of an overnight explosion at the facility in Columbus, Ohio, Thursday, April 8, 2021. One person was killed and several others were injured in an explosion and fire Thursday at the paint maker’s facility in the Ohio capital. Authorities in Columbus were investigating what caused the explosion in the paint shop just after midnight. (Joshua A. Bickel / The Columbus Dispatch via AP)