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One person killed, three hospitalized in explosion at US Ecology site near Grand View

Explosion "the darkest day" in company's 66 years
Posted: 1:30 PM, Nov 17, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-18 23:27:24Z

An investigation is underway to find the cause of the explosion that left one person dead and three others hospitalized inside a building at the US Ecology site near Grand View, Idaho.

Officials say Monte “Alex” Green of Grand View passed away after sustaining injuries during the explosion. Green was reported missing immediately following an explosion and was later located Saturday afternoon. His family members have been notified. Green has worked for the company since 2014.

Green was working as an equipment operator moving materials at the time of the accident.

 “We are deeply saddened to confirm that there has been one fatality resulting from the accident at our Grand View, Idaho facility today,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Feeler said. “This is a tragedy that has been felt through the entire US Ecology family and the darkest day in US Ecology’s 66-year history. The entire US Ecology family extends its deepest, heartfelt sympathy to the employees, family members, and loved ones affected by this tragic event.  Our focus  will now be helping our team members cope with this loss while conducting a thorough investigation and working with authorities as they close out their own investigation.”

A public information officer for US Ecology says the explosion leaves three people injured with non-life threatening wounds.

Fifteen US Ecology employees were working during the time of the explosion.

Idaho State Police say the building where the explosion happened is used to process powdered magnesium products.

Officers initially reported there were two explosions, the first at about 9:15 a.m. and the second an hour later, but further investigation found only one explosion occurred.

“Our immediate thoughts are with families,” said Simon Bell US Ecology Vice President of Operations and Chief Operating Officer.  “It’s a very difficult day for US Ecology. Our focus is on the families of those affected by the accident, supporting the first responders, and making sure our employees are cared for and updated on what’s happening in this process.”
 
US Ecology Idaho houses a facility that processes and converts hazardous inorganic wastes into non-hazardous, delisted residues. The accident occurred during a routine process.

"We'll be launching an investigation to understand how something like this could happen," Bell said. "t was a very routine operation so there's obviously a lot we need to learn to find out what occurred here."
 
US Ecology is conducting both an internal and external investigation and will release more information as it becomes available.

“Today is an exceptionally hard day for our team. As we mourn the loss of one of our own, we are also moving forward to try and figure out exactly what happened. US Ecology is committed to finding the cause and working closely with the agencies and teams on site to ensure a thorough investigation,” Feeler said. “This is a tragedy that affects not only our team but the entire community. There hasn’t been a moment that’s gone by that we haven’t thought about Alex, his family, and the crews who were working yesterday. Together we will rally and continue to be a strong team and community.”