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Gas Explosion Causes Minor Injuries, Interrupts Operations at Guardian DeWitt Plant

A gas explosion occurred just before 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 3, at the Guardian Industries DeWitt, Iowa, float glass plant. Five workers suffered minor injuries during the incident, and operations were interrupted. All five employees were released from care Saturday night without serious injury, according to company officials.

“There was an explosion of unknown origin at Guardian Industries in DeWitt,” company officials said in a same-day statement. “The plant was evacuated and appropriate emergency personnel responded. As we work to manage this incident, our employees’ health and safety remains our primary concern.”

Officials continued in a June 4 statement, “while we do know last night’s incident involved natural gas, this is still under investigation, and we are assessing the extent of the damage to the east side of the plant. Emergency personnel were onsite throughout the night and the situation remains under control. We are grateful for the outstanding assistance we’ve received from the emergency response agencies. We are asking that employees do not come in to work until we can ensure the plant is safe for operations.”

The company was unable to offer additional updates on June 5, saying, “at this time, we are focused on recovery, both ensuring a safe work environment and returning to operational status.”

The DeWitt plant started operations in 1996, and in 2007 added an advanced magnetron sputter coater, allowing production of high-performance Guardian ClimaGuard and SunGuard low-emissivity glass products. The plant services window customers and commercial fabricators throughout the United States, targeting those operating in the upper Midwest. The plant also produces high-speed tempered glass and mirrors.