Crews were still investigating this week the cause of a Friday explosion at Vulcan Inc. in Foley, AL, which resulted in serious injuries to at least two employees.
The Foley Fire Department received a report of an explosion at around 9:42 a.m. on Friday. The explosion occurred in Building 1 of Vulcan Signs, an older area of the plant.
A machine exploded which polishes metal imprints in a blanking area where sheets of metal end up milled to make signs, officials said. The area should be operational by mid-day on Monday, said Chuck Self, Vulcan’s risk manager.
The explosion was just in the area around the machine, but two employees who work directly with the machine fell victim to the blast.
The two employees went by LifeFlight to the USA Medical Center’s burn unit in Mobile. One remained at USA with critical injuries while a second employee ended up transferred to UAB Medical Center in Birmingham with more minor injuries.
Both victims suffered from burns to the head and neck area. Self could not speak as to the condition of the two employees on Monday morning and their names were not immediately available.
Foley Fire Chief Joey Darby said Friday around 50 employees ended up triaged and released at the scene with no apparent serious injuries.
The explosion did not spread to any other areas of the plant, Darby said.
Self said Monday that they have yet to determine a specific cause for the blast. Vulcan officials will be working with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Foley Fire Department to determine a cause.
According to its website vulcaninc.com, Vulcan began as a small sign manufacturer in Birmingham in 1935. The first production facility started up in Foley in 1968.
Vulcan moved its metal stamping plant from Birmingham to Foley in 1975. The facility’s 32-acre campus now includes five integrated manufacturing facilities – Vulcan Aluminum, Vulcan Metal Stampings, Vulcan Signs, Vulcan Aluminum Mill and Vulcan Utility Signs – a technology center and corporate offices.
In 2012 Vulcan announced a multi-million dollar expansion to install two new metal furnaces and related equipment upgrades, doubling the capacity of its aluminum mill. The expansion should be ready to go by 2016.