UPDATE: Three employees hospitalized for smoke inhalation after - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

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UPDATE: Three employees hospitalized for smoke inhalation after fire at Bremen business

Posted: Updated:
We're learning more about a big fire at a Michiana fiberglass plant....

It happened at Charleston Corporation in Bremen around one this afternoon.

The President & CEO of Charleston Corporation, Jeff Wysong, said three employees were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation, two of which were released Tuesday evening.  According to family members, the third, Candy Witt is still in the hospital. 

Her brother tells us she suffered cyanide poisoning. "When I was there next to her bed, the doctor came in and said they were going to start the cyanide treatment and hopefully she would respond to that," said Cesar Sosa, "for myself, she is my younger sister.  It was pretty hard."

He said his sister is responding well.  When she first got to the hospital he said she wasn't speaking but later started moving around and talking to family members.

A lot of agencies played a role in fighting Tuesday's fire.  In fact, the first person on scene wasn't even a fire fighter.  "As I got about parallel to that building I did hear an explosion," said Bremen Police Chief Matthew Hassel.

Hassel said he was just doing his normal rounds when he witnessed the fire at Charleston Corporation.  "Immediately a large amount of black smoke started rolling from that building.  I immediately called it in."

Hassel said he blocked off the road as employees evacuated.

Bremen Fire Chief Matt Neher said they called 17 fire departments to help haul in water to the scene.  "Out here in the kinda rural area we don't have hydrants so we have to shuttle water with tankers"

Wysong said the building is a loss.  But he said his employees quick actions saved lives.  "They knew where fire extinguishers were, they knew what had to be done." 

Wysong said  employees will be back Wednesday as they continue work in the other five buildings that weren't damaged.  "I walked around and made sure everybody was ok.  I told them that life isn't perfect, you gotta bounce when life gives you curve balls so we will respond to this and make sure everybody's in a positive mindset when they come into work tomorrow," said Wysong.

IOSHA confirms it will be on site at the plant Wednesday to conduct a safety investigation.

We did some digging and found a report from an inspection of the facility back in 2012

The company was written up for three "serious" violations and was fined just over two-thousand dollars.  An inspector found a "55 gallon drum containing Acetone which was not grounded."

The report also said there were some employees not wearing respirators in a machine shop room with a sign posted saying they were to be worn.

The Bremen fire Chief said they did a recent walk-thru and everything was up to code.


YouTube video courtesy Ricky Fields.







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