GREENVILLE (WWJ) - One worker at a manufacturing facility in West Michigan was severely burned after an explosion rocked the area on Friday evening, authorities confirmed.
Greenville Department of Public Safety Sgt. Steve Dewitt said the explosion occurred around 9:45 p.m. at the Dicastal manufacturing facility in Greenville, near Grand Rapids.
Dewitt said all employees were accounted for with one transported to a local hospital with severe burn injures.
According to their website, Discastal produces aluminum alloy wheels for the auto industry, in addition to melting, casting, heat treating and product testing.
The combined chemicals and metals used at the facility proved tough for firefighting efforts.
“One of the challenges that we have with this type of fire is we cannot use water on liquid metal," DeWitt said. "Aluminum, magnesium reacts violently with water so it’s not a traditional firefighting effort, we can’t just put water on it and put it out. So we have to use dry chemicals or we have to remove the oxygen from the fire. So that’s very challenging."
The sergeant said there was no environmental or health threat to the immediate area.
According to WOODTV, Dicastal North America has experienced fires at their facilities before. In July 2020, employees were evacuated from the building after aluminum particles caught fire inside a furnace.
In September 2019, another fire was reported at the plant.
Less than a year ago, in July 2022, the Greenville facility was the subject of an FBI raid. Agents confirmed to WOOD TV at the time that a search warrant had been executed at the property, but no additional details were released.
The cause of the explosion on Friday remains under investigation.