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Explosion at Chicagoland paint factory injures three workers

A paint factory located in the northwest suburbs of Chicago was the scene of a terrifying industrial accident last week that sent several workers to the hospital and left investigators with a multitude of unanswered questions.

According to reports, emergency responders were summoned to Fox Valley Systems Inc. in Cary last Wednesday afternoon after receiving a call that a large explosion had demolished a brick wall and sparked a large fire.

Fortunately, the majority of the 24 employees working inside at the time of the workplace accident were able to escape unharmed. However, three employees did suffer burn injuries and had to be taken to area hospitals for treatment.

After several subsequent explosions, the decision was made to evacuate 25 businesses located along the street as a precautionary measure. This made sense considering the intensity of the blaze and the relative instability of the flammable chemicals stored within the Fox Valley Systems complex, which manufactures aerosol paint.

The fire was eventually extinguished several hours later thanks to the collective efforts of at least 12 fire engines, a foam-spraying truck and a hazardous-materials response team. Fire officials believe that the fire originated in the production area where flammable chemicals are used to create the paint.

While the official cause of the fire remains unknown, both the Cary Fire Protection District and OSHA will be conducting in-depth investigations to determine what exactly went wrong.

It is worth noting that Fox Valley Systems was previously fined $7,000 and issued seven serious OSHA violations in connection with a 1995 fire that saw three workers hospitalized for burn injuries after flammable vapors caught fire.

The results of the OSHA inspection may take up to six months. In the meantime, Fox Valley Systems indicated that the building will remain closed and likely have to undergo extensive repairs.

Consider speaking with an experienced workers' compensation attorney to learn more about your options if you have suffered serious injuries in an industrial workers' accident.

Sources: The Daily Herald "3 hurt in Cary factory explosion," Tricia Garcia Mathewson, March 7, 2013; The Chicago Tribune, "Investigators seek cause of Cary explosions, fire," Amanda Marrazzo, March 7, 2013

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