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The Latest: Employee at waste site killed in explosion

November 18, 2018

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Latest on an explosion at an Idaho waste site (all times local):

12:20 a.m.

Officials say an employee at a hazardous waste site in southwestern Idaho was killed after an explosion Saturday that also injured three workers and heavily damaged a building.

US Ecology, which runs the site, says Monte “Alex” Green of Grand View, Idaho, died of his injuries from the explosion at 9:23 a.m. inside one of the buildings at the facility.

The company says Green was working as an equipment operator moving materials at the time of the accident.

In a statement, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Feeler said: “We are deeply saddened to confirm that there has been one fatality resulting from the accident at our Grand View, Idaho facility today. This is a tragedy that has been felt through the entire US Ecology family and the darkest day in US Ecology’s 66-year history. The entire US Ecology family extends its deepest, heartfelt sympathy to the employees, family members, and loved ones affected by this tragic event. Our focus will now be helping our team members cope with this loss while conducting a thorough investigation and working with authorities as they close out their own investigation.”

The company says three others received treatment for non-life threatening injuries. A total of 15 US Ecology employees were working during the time of the explosion.

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5:49 p.m.

An explosion Saturday at a hazardous waste site in southwestern Idaho heavily damaged a building, injured three workers and left one man missing, officials said.

The company US Ecology said 15 employees were working at the time of the explosion, which occurred in a building at the facility about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Boise.

“Most of the skin has been blown out, and much of the metal has been bent,” Simon Bell, the company’s vice president of operations and chief operating officer, said of the building. “It would have been a large explosion based on the damage to the building.”

There’s no threat to the public, and emergency crews, including a hazardous materials team, were at the site, Owyhee County spokeswoman Angela Barkell said. The facility is about 10 miles (16 kilometers) east of the small town of Grand View, and about a mile from a highway.

“No immediate threat has been identified, and no evacuations have taken place,” Barkell said in a phone interview with The Associated Press.

Bell said employees were doing routine work at the time of the blast, but he didn’t want to speculate on the cause.

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