From Radford Army Ammunition Plant
At approximately 7:30 p.m. Monday, nitrocellulose material in the drying process combusted and caused a flash fire. Three employees were injured, and all three have been transported to a local hospital. At 8:11 PM the fire was extinguished by the fire department and the incident is contained.
Mutual aid was activated with support from Radford City Fire and Rescue,
Christiansburg EMS, REMSI and Pulaski County Company 3 Fire (Fairlawn).
The three injured personnel were transported to Wake Forest Hospital from
the Carilion New River Valley Medical Center later Monday night.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to those injured and their families. Their
care and welfare is our principal concern.
The accident remains under investigation at this time.
The flash fire occurred in the nitrocellulose drying facility. This
facility assists in the production of propellant used in ammunition for the Department of Defense.
“The health and safety of our employees, our neighbors, and the local community remains our highest priority, therefore all related production operations are currently suspended,” said Brian Gathright, Radford’s BAE Systems Vice President and General Manager.
Radford Army Ammunition Plant employs approximately 1,090 government and contract employees. The three employees injured in the fire were employed by the operating contractor, BAE Systems. There is no change to the status of the injured workers. Their names will not be released due to privacy concerns.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the employees who were injured last night. Making ammunition is dangerous work, and our employees risk their lives to protect our men and women in uniform,” said Lt. Col. James “Jim” Scott, Radford Commander.
“Safety is of primary concern, so we minimize the number of individuals exposed to safety hazards while producing propellant. Because of our safety procedures, we were able to minimize and contain the fire to one area within the plant,” Scott said.