It may be the “ice cream of the future,” but right now, an explosion at the Dippin’ Dots production facility in Paducah, Kentucky, left four workers injured, officials said.
The explosion occurred Nov. 22 in a production area around 10 p.m., said Dippin’ Dots Chief Executive Scott Fischer. It would be premature to comment on the cause of the blast, he said.
“At this moment what is most important to us is our employees, especially our four team members who were injured last night,” Fischer said.
The plant had a nitrogen leak, but it was unclear whether that leak caused the explosion or happened afterward, said Paducah City Spokeswoman Pam Spencer. Nitrogen is used to flash-freeze Dippin’ Dots novelty ice cream.
The extent of the damage was unknown and the cause of the explosion was under investigation.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) are investigating the cause of the blast.
John Nokes with the ATF said there is extensive damage in the area of the explosion. The ATF is ruling out criminal action as a cause.
“At this point, we believe it’s an industrial accident, but we’re still continuing to investigate just to make sure we’ve conducted all the interviews, looked at all the evidence, and then make that determination,” Nokes said.
One hundred employees work at the facility every day, and the company is giving those employees updates on the investigation daily, said Dippin’ Dots Vice President of Administration and Human Resources, Steve Heisner.
“We’re having routine conversations with them, as well through their supervisors. They’re very well informed of the circumstances,” Heisner said. “We’re attempting to provide updates every day, not only to our employees, but our franchisees and core customers as well.”
Heisner said they are in constant communication with the four employees who were taken to the hospital after the explosion. Three have been released, and one was still in the hospital as of last week.