Federal authorities are still investigating what caused a deadly explosion at a chemical plant in the Rubbertown neighborhood, but operators are also worried about potential job loss.
The blast killed two employees and has shut down the furnace at Carbide Industries, which employs 130 people. The company wants to rebuild once the investigation is complete, but won’t have access to the building to asses the damage for the next two weeks.
Carbide Industries General Manager John Gant says the employees are still being paid, but that could change if they can’t get the furnace fixed soon.
“If we think we can rebuild the furnace within a timely manner and keep on buying carbide from overseas and supplying our customers we’ll do that until we can get this furnace up and running,” he says. “If it’s going to be two years we don’t think the customers are going to be there. If the plant shuts down, everyone’s out of a job.”
The furnace is housed in a five-story building that can be salvaged. Gant says making sure the facilities are safe for employees takes precedence.