OSHA is investigating just what caused a flash fire that killed one worker and injured another at a manufacturer of wood molding and doors in Kansas.
Kevin Lewis was standing on a platform about 12 feet above ground at Woodwork Manufacturing in Hutchinson, KS. Investigators believe he was preparing to either clean a sawdust collector or dump sawdust from it, when a sudden burst of flames rose about 40 feet into the air.
Lewis either fell from the platform or jumped to try to escape the flames.
He was flown to a hospital burn unit where he died while receiving treatment. He was burned on well over half of his body.
The second worker, Randy Cummins, suffered burns to his hands from trying to help Lewis. He’s hospitalized in fair condition.
A local fire department spokesman says the highly combustible sawdust in the collector had everything it needed on a warm, humid day to burst into flames except oxygen. When Lewis opened the collector, the rush of oxygen could have been the last ingredient needed for the fire.
Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze.
Click here for OSHA’s web page on combustible dust.