Two people are confirmed dead as rescue crews continue to search through debris after an explosion tore through an animal feed processing plant in Omaha, Nebraska.
Interim Omaha Fire Chief Bernie Kanger stated that he was not sure if the death toll would rise as crews continued searching through the debris of the International Nutrition plant on Tuesday. Kanger insisted that the recovery operation would be a slow process and it would take longer than normal due to the structure being unstable after the explosion and the safety of rescue crews being the top priority.
Thirty-eight people were working at the plant when the blast happened. In addition to the two people who died and 10 who were hospitalized, seven people were hurt but refused treatment. Officials have not said how many of the 19 others escaped.
"We haven't cleared the building yet because of the significant risk to our people," Kanger told AP.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be tasked with leading the investigation. Local reports indicate that the explosion caused a portion of the factory to collapse, but that fortunately no other residents were ordered to evacuate.
Jamar White was working at the factory when the explosion happened and witnessed one of the factory's walls collapse.
"I ran at least 150 feet," White told AP. "I ran far enough to make sure nothing else would keep falling."
His wife, Sarah, was at home with the couples four children when she received a call letting her know her husband was alright.
"I could hear the panic in his voice," she told AP. "But he said he was OK…that's where he works every day. That could have been him," White said.