1 Person Killed & 10 Injured at Arens Controls, Arlington Heights, Illinois Plant

By Jamie Sotonoff and Melissa Silverberg, Daily Herald

Police confirmed that the one person killed in an explosion at Arens Controls in Arlington Heights is an Itasca man.

Investigators will be back Wednesday to try to determine what caused the explosion in the company’s electronics testing area Tuesday that also injured 12 other people, including three police officers and two firefighters who responded.

Neil Nicholson of Itasca suffered serious injuries in the explosion and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police. None of the other injuries were life-threatening, Arlington Heights Fire Chief Glenn Eriksen said.

The blast happened around 8:30 a.m. inside the two-story building at 3602 N. Kennicott Ave., just north of Dundee Road and east of Route 53.

So far, authorities say the explosion appears to be accidental, but investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal, and the Arlington Heights Police Forensics Unit have not made any final ruling.

“There’s a lot of damage inside, so it’s hard to tell right now if it was the chemical itself or the machine,” Arlington Heights Police Cmdr. Ken Galinski said. “There’s a lot of destruction and devastation in there from the equipment that exploded.”

OSHA spokesman Scott Allen said agency investigators will be interviewing employees and witnesses, and their investigation could take up to sx months.

“We’ll try to figure out if there are any OSHA standards that may have been violated and try to figure out what caused this so we can help avoid having something like this happening again,” Allen said.

One thing investigators are looking at is whether potassium hydroxide — a potentially explosive and toxic chemical — was a factor in the explosion.

For the rest of the article, click on the link below.

http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20120522/news/705229865/

Daily Herald staff writers Paul Biasco, Deborah Donovan and Kimberly Pohl contributed to this report.

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