Worker injured in explosion inside Bryan tire plant

8/23/2010
BLADE STAFF

A factory worker was hurt seriously early Monday during an explosion inside a Bryan tire plant, authorities said.

The victim, whose name was not immediately released, was flown to Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, said Bryan Fire Capt. Gary Merschdorf.

An explosion inside Titan Tire Corp. plant, 927 South Union Street, was reported about 6:15 a.m. Monday. The Bryan Fire Department was on scene to assist the air ambulance, but never entered the factory, Captain Merschdorf said.

The plant makes off-highway wheels, such as those on dump trucks and bulldozers that work in mines

Another worker was hurt in November, 2008, when a steam explosion hurled a 5,000-pound piece of equipment through the plant's ceiling onto the roof. He was operating a tire machine when the explosion occurred due to a rapid steam release.

The factory was fined a combined $164,500 in June, 2009 after the Toledo office and federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration found engineering problems and equipment failures relating to the factory's tire curing equipment.

The federal inspections revealed that four of the units that use 6.4 million pounds of pressure to compress rubber and metal into 63-inch, 13,000-pound tires "were not adequately proof-tested and had welds of insufficient quality or strength to handle the exerted pressure."