Explosion sends metal flying at Cimarron in Huntsville

Published: Aug. 21, 2014 at 7:15 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 23, 2014 at 8:07 PM CDT
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Explosion at Cimarron in Huntsville (Source: WAFF)
Explosion at Cimarron in Huntsville (Source: WAFF)

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Emergency workers were called to the scene of an explosion at Cimarron Composites in Huntsville.

It happened outside of the building at 4912 Moores Mill Road around 2:30 p.m.

A Huntsville Fire & Rescue worker said a hydrogen tank blew up and Hazmat was called to the scene.

Pieces of metal were scattered several hundred yards from the site of the explosion. The percussive effects of the explosion knocked light fixtures inside the facility off the walls.

"Everyone was shaken by it," said employee Adam Tuten. "It was very scary. The ground shook... ceiling tiles were damaged. It was a big shock that went through everything."

Jessica Jenkins works a few doors down from Cimarron. She said the shock for her co-workers was when they ventured outside to see what happened.

"We saw the building across the street from us had a piece of metal that actually went through it," she said.

Two people suffered minor injuries. They were sent to Huntsville Hospital and were later released.

Huntsville Fire & Rescue Captain Frank McKenzie said the tank ruptured after employees performed testing on it with liquid nitrogen. A Cimarron employee said they had performed the procedure hundreds of times before.

"In the testing procedures, we were told, they were in the process of what's called 'off-gassing' the tank and it exploded," said McKenzie.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating the incident.

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