OAKWOOD VILLAGE, Ohio (WJW) — Fire investigators are looking into what caused a deadly explosion at an Oakwood Village metal manufacturing plant Monday afternoon.
The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office has now confirmed that one person involved in the incident has died.
The Oakwood Village Fire Department previously confirmed at least 13 people were taken to the hospital following the incident and that at least one of them was in critical condition. Another person was reportedly injured but not taken to the hospital.
Witnesses reported hearing a big “boom” shortly after 2:15 p.m. Crews from multiple cities were then sent to the 22500 block on Alexander Road where I. Schumann & Co., which produces copper alloys, is located.
Fire Captain Brian DiRocco said he saw quite a few burn victims on the scene, and that at least one person had to be pulled from the rubble before being taken to the hospital.
Hospital officials confirmed to FOX 8 that multiple people were brought to MetroHealth Medical Center, and that two of them are considered to be in critical condition.
The official address of the building is in Bedford, but it is considered Oakwood Village.
Flying over the scene, FOX 8 SkyFOX helicopter showed a fire and a large plume of smoke coming from the building, but firefighters now have it under control. From the ground, debris can be seen scattered hundreds of yards away and a large chunk of the building is missing. Some of the nearby cars caught on fire as well.
Firefighters said they do not know what led to the explosion but that an investigation is underway.
The smoke billowing into the air could be seen for miles around the site and it was even caught on our weather radar for a while, but is starting to disperse into the atmosphere.
Multiple communities reported a bad smell in the air following the incident.
“There has been reports of a smell of ‘Burning Oil’ in areas,” Broadview Heights Fire Department said on Facebook. This is likely from the fire scene. We are likely to notice this odor for a while yet.
Seven Hills Fire Department said they are aware of the haze and smell traveling through their area and told people not to call 911, as it may “tie up resources currently needed for the event in Oakwood.”
Just after 7 p.m., I. Schumann and Co. released a statement to the media regarding the incident:
An explosion of unknown origin struck our Bedford, Ohio facility today resulting in injuries to employees and significant damage to the facility. Our efforts now are focused on supporting the first responders who came on scene quickly to help our employees. The safety and health of our employees is our top priority and we commit to ensuring they receive the medical care they need. We will work alongside investigators in their search for answers as part of our commitment to Northeast Ohio where we have been operating for more than 100 years. Our thoughts and prayers are with our team members and their families at this difficult time.