An explosion at a Valley Proteins animal rendering plant in Rose Hill, North Carolina severely injured five workers.
The workers were airlifted to the burn center at a local hospital after the March 11 blast. Rose Hill is about 90 miles south of Raleigh. The workers were employees of a contractor hired by Valley Proteins. The incident occurred in the plant’s finished products area around 11 a.m., according to published reports.
Dust may have been the cause of the fire because Valley Proteins vice chairman, Michael Smith, said the workers were using welding equipment in a dusty area when the blast happened.
Smith said some of the injured may have third-degree burns. Smith said he did not believe the contractor had the proper “hot work” permits needed to be using welding and cutting equipment in that area.
No Valley Proteins employees were injured in the explosion, and the plant didn’t sustain significant damage.
Authorities are investigating the industrial incident, but said his primary concern is the health of the injured workers and their full recovery.
Valley Proteins is based in Winchester, Virginia. The company renders remnant animal products, and recycles supermarket and foodservice waste into products used to manufacture pet food and biofuels.