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Two workers injured at Chicago factory explosion; trains stopped
Associated Press

In this image made from television video, an aerial view shows the scene of an explosion at a factory on Chicago's West Side

 

Associated Press

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Published: 7/17/2009 9:56 AM | Updated: 7/17/2009 11:32 AM

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Fire officials are blaming a chemical reaction for an explosion at a Chicago food manufacturing plant that left two workers injured — one seriously.

Deputy Fire Chief Gene Ryan says the reaction caused a partial collapse of the one-story Columbus Foods plant.

Rick Cummisford is the quality control supervisor for Columbus Vegetable Oil, and he says only biodiesel is made at the Chicago plant and that no food products are manufactured there.

Cummisford says two workers were mixing chemicals in a stainless steel vessel at about 9 a.m. Friday when a reaction caused the explosion.

Cummisford says one worker received scratches and the other was splashed with chemicals.

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uthorities say the other nine employees at the scene appear to be accounted for and uninjured.

The explosion has shut down some major commuter train lines.

Metra spokesman Michael Gillis says authorities aren't allowing trains on tracks that run close to the plant. As a result, he says three inbound and two outbound trains are delayed.

The closed lines are Milwaukee District West, Milwaukee District North and North Center Service.

Gillis says he doesn't know how the lines might have been affected, including whether rubble might have scattered onto some tracks.

Authorities say the explosion sent bricks and other debris hundreds of feet in the air and injured two workers.