TOONE, Tenn. — A member of the human resources team at the Kilgore flare plant in Toone, Tennessee confirmed an employee was injured Tuesday but would not comment on the extent of injuries or if an explosion had occurred.
Several people in the small Hardeman County town told WREG they saw a medivac helicopter land at a church Tuesday, saw numerous emergency personnel and saw the helicopter leave with a patient on-board. None of those people wanted to go on camera.
We’ve been told the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched an investigation into the incident. They release a statement on the incident Thursday.
“The employer, Kilgore Flares LLC, reported an in-patient hospitalization to TOSHA, using the online reporting system. They reported it at 7:48 pm on 5/25/21. The agency does not release preliminary information. The inspection report is open for review once the investigation is closed,” said Chris Cannon with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
We were also told ATF special agents and industry operations investigators responded to Kilgore on what it called an “explosives incident.”
“ATF’s role was from a public safety perspective to ensure there were no additional hazards from the initial incident,” said ATF special agent Michael Knight.
Kilgore manufactures military flares, often called defense “countermeasures”, and is a primary employer in Toone.
Records show there have been several fatal accidents at the plant. The latest happened in 2014, when Michael Chism, a father of five, was badly burned in an explosion and later died. The blast was determined to be an accident.
Kilgore has faced fines and penalties in the past for workplace violations.
We’re told the Hardeman County Sheriff’s Department is also involved. We reached out to investigators and are waiting for a response.