Explosion and Fire
in a Rubber Manufacturing Plant

On January 29,2003, a powerful Explosion and fire ripped through a rubber manufacturing plant in Kinston, NC, taking the lives of six employees, and injuring 38 others including two firefighters who responded to the accident The blast occurred without warning at 1:28 pm during a routine workday and could be heard 25 miles from the plant. A student at a school more than half a mile away was injured by shattered glass. Flaming debris set woods on fire as far as two miles away.

The CSB investigated the accident to determine its root causes. The investigation traced the explosion to a hazard that developed in the plant over the years: combustible dust from a plastic raw material had accumulated on hidden surfaces above the production area, creating the fuel for a massive explosion and fire.