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Three hurt in industrial accident in Helena-West Helena

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HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. — An investigation is underway after an industrial accident Wednesday morning injured three workers in Helena-West Helena, Arkansas.

Police confirm a blast happened at United Initiators, a peroxide manufacturer on Phillips Road 311.

Fire Chief Reginald Wilson said there was no fire but some sort of a hazmat incident was reported at 8:15 a.m.

Dorothy Byrd was worried after she heard there and been an explosion at United Initiators.

"I was concerned about my nephew, Jonathan Richardson. He works out here," said Byrd. "I don't know any of the details."

The three injured employees were performing maintenance work inside a production unit in the building when the explosion occurred.

Fire Chief Reginald Wilson told WREG as many as 25 firefighters and a Hazmat team responded to the scene. He said there was no visible fire when they arrived.

United Initiators released a statement saying that "a decomposition involving benzoyl peroxide occurred," injuring the workers. Production was stopped and an investigation was begun.

A company spokesperson would not comment on the type of injuries the the three workers or their seriousness. Police told WREG that the injured employees were airlifted to a Memphis hospital.

The company's statement went on to say "our production units have stopped and an investigation has begun. There has been no chemical releases due to this incident."

Dorothy Byrd said though she had very little information on what happened, she was glad to find out her nephew was okay.

"We were just told that there was an explosion out here. But he finally called us and told us that he was okay."

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