Omaha Police took this photo of the plant where the explosion happened.

Omaha Police took this photo of the plant where the explosion happened.

There are fatalities after an accident this morning at an Omaha animal feed processing plant. Interim Omaha Fire Chief Bernie Kanger says 38 employees were inside the International Nutrition plant at the time.

Many workers escaped unharmed, while 10 were taken to area hospitals and 4 were listed in critical condition. “There are fatalities,” Kanger said a mid-afternoon press conference. “We are not going to release the number of those fatalities at this time simply because we have not had the opportunity to clear the entire structure. This is a large building with significant structural damage.”

Part of plant collapsed in the accident and there was a fire. The fire was extinguished, but firefighters – who rescued some workers – were ordered out of the building over fears of another collapse. At 2 p.m., Kanger said the mission switched from rescue to recovery mode. “The chance of finding any victims alive is no longer there,” Kanger said. “Our efforts are to secure the building and then go in to find any victims that may still be in the structure.”

Kanger said the cause of the accident, which occurred around 10 a.m., is unknown. “What we do know is this was an industrial accident that resulted in structural collapse and fire,” Kanger said. “We do not know if there was an explosion. That will be part of the cause investigation.” International Nutrition, located in south-central Omaha, produces prepared feed and feed ingredients for livestock.

By Karla James