US Federal mining officials are investigating the cause of an explosion and fire at a cement plant outside Branford late Monday that sent two employees to a hospital burn unit (reports the Sun Sentinel). The incident at Suwannee American Cement happened at about 11:45 p.m. Monday according to Suwannee County Sheriff Tony Cameron. US Mine Safety and Health Administration inspectors were at the plant Tuesday afternoon trying to determine what happened at the two-year-old plant and why.
The company’s chief executive officer, Dan Fritz, said the employees who were burned in the incident, Matt Edmonds and Cedric Wade, along with uninjured employee Keith Moeller, were wearing their safety gear and appeared to have been following approved procedures when the accident happened. The men were working around the pulverised coal bin
The plant will be shut down at least until the federal mine inspectors have completed their investigation and, Fritz said, "until we determine what caused this problem and that the cause has been rectified. As far as we know, our employees were following safety practices."
Records maintained by the Mine Safety and Health Administration showed the explosion and fire was the most serious accident at the plant since it opened on Feb. 11, 2002. Federal officials said it may take several weeks for them to complete their investigation.