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Explosion at Idaho waste facility kills 1, injures at least 3

In this file photo, container management operators at U.S. Ecology Idaho near Grand View catalog closed drums filled with various types of hazardous waste in a temporary storage area where new material is analyzed.
In this file photo, container management operators at U.S. Ecology Idaho near Grand View catalog closed drums filled with various types of hazardous waste in a temporary storage area where new material is analyzed. Idaho Statesman file

An explosion Saturday morning at the U.S. Ecology waste facility near Grand View killed one person and injured at least three others.

Monte “Alex” Green, of Grand View, was killed while working as an equipment operator moving materials at the time of the explosion, according to a press release from U.S. Ecology.

“We are deeply saddened to confirm that there has been one fatality,” said Jeff Feeler, U.S. Ecology chairman and chief executive officer.

“This is a tragedy that has been felt through the entire U.S. Ecology family and the darkest day in U.S. Ecology’s 66-year history,” he said.

The explosion took place at about 9:23 a.m. Nov. 16 in a building that is believed to process magnesium, according to another release the Idaho State Police sent on behalf of Owyhee County authorities.

The injuries are not life-threatening, U.S. Ecology said in the release.

“Our immediate thoughts are with families,” Simon Bell, U.S. Ecology vice president of operations and chief operating officer, said in a statement. “It’s a very difficult day for U.S. Ecology. Our focus is on the families of those affected by the accident, supporting the first responders, and making sure our employees are cared for and updated on what’s happening in this process.”

The earlier ISP release indicated two explosions occurred; a spokeswoman for U.S. Ecology told the Statesman that only one explosion took place.

U.S. Ecology’s facility is located off Simco Road in Elmore County, just south of Interstate 84.

Emergency workers were at the scene as of Saturday afternoon, including response teams sent to clean the area.

U.S. Ecology said the explosion “occurred during a routine process.” A total 15 workers were at the building at the time. The company described the building as a site “that processes and converts hazardous inorganic wastes into non-hazardous, delisted residues.”

This is a breaking news report. Check back for more details as they are confirmed.

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