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Flash Fire at Sherwin-Williams’ Plant Probed

Monday, February 21, 2011

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North Carolina authorities are investigating a flash fire at a Sherwin-Williams plant that left an employee with minor burns.

The fire, at a company plant in Greensboro, was “just a very tiny incident in the great scheme of things,” said Sherwin-Williams spokesman Mike Conway.

The fire ignited about 7:10 a.m. Thursday (Feb. 17), when the worker was “mixing a batch of wood coatings in a tank,” said Conway. “For some reason, a small flash fire erupted.”

The fire immediately activated the plant’s fire suppression system, which extinguished the fire “within 20 seconds,” Conway said. The plant’s ventilation system also activated, fire officials said.

Vapors Suspected

The worker was transported to an area hospital, where he was treated and released. The company withheld the worker’s name.

Conway said the worker was burned on his hands. However, a local fire official told the Greensboro News-Record that the injuries were to the worker’s face and arms.

The Greensboro Fire Department said the fire had probably been caused by ignition of methyl ethyl ketone vapors. The chemical, also known as butanone, is an industrial solvent. What sparked the fire is not known.

No other injuries were reported, and the facility was not damaged.

Both the North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Division and Sherwin-Williams are investigating.

   

Tagged categories: Accidents; Coatings manufacturers; Fire; Protective coatings; Sherwin-Williams

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