Static-electricity spark may have caused Defiance plant fire


DEFIANCE — A static-electricity spark may have triggered an explosion and fire that injured at least one worker at a food products plant in Defiance early today, authorities said.

The victim remained in a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, a news release from the company said. The victim's name and condition were not released.

Michael Duchesne, spokesman for the state fire marshal, said investigators cannot rule out a static-electricity spark as the cause of the explosion and fire, although the cause of the fire officially remains under investigation. The fire, which was kept in check by the suppression system, was extinguished by area fire crews, he said.

The incident occurred about 4:30 a.m. at SensoryEffects Powder Systems Inc., 111 W. High St., closing nearby North Clinton Street for about two hours, according to the Defiance County Sheriff's Office.

The sheriff's office said in a earlier written statement that two workers had been injured. Also, Defiance Fire Chief Dave Schmaltz said that two people were taken from the fire scene to area hospitals. "As far as we know, they were both workers," he said.

A company spokesman could not be reached for comment on the discrepancy.

The explosion caused mostly structural damage; the fire damage was "minimal," according to a written statement released by the sheriff's office.

Defiance, in Defiance County, is about 55 miles southwest of Toledo.