Plant Explosion in Beatrice

A plant explosion in Beatrice sent two men to the hospital Sunday morning now the entire plant is under an extensive investigation.

Just a couple miles outside of Beatrice 35 feet above the cornfields that surround the area, 2 men work routine maintenance on the Koch Nitrogen Plant until the flash and the blast.

Captain Jake Carrel with the Beatrice Fire Department was on scene.

“Our first concern was that there was an explosion if there was any chemicals that has been leaked or any possible exposure,” Carrel said.

The Beatrice Fire Department with the help of the volunteer fire department and Gage County Sheriff's Office, responded to the fire at the plant that had blown the 2 men off a tank around 9:30 Sunday morning.

Luckily, no chemicals leaked from the plant and harnesses kept the men from falling to the ground.

“We responded with 2 ambulances. We ended up transporting one patient with minor injuries to Beatrice community hospital, he was treated and released. The other patient was transported via starcare 5 helicopter to St. Elizabeth hospital in Lincoln,”Carrel said.

The 2 men involved in Sunday morning's explosion are not plant employees. They're contractors with a company called Inserv based out of Tulsa.

Inserv officials and Koche plant officials say they're investigating the cause of the fire and will not do interviews until they have a better understanding of what went wrong.

Whatever it was, The Beatrice fire department says it could have ended much worse than it did.

“All things considering I think people were very fortunate, 2 injuries with an explosion type of situation is really pretty lucky,” Carrel said.  

 The names of the 2 men injured in the accident are not being released. Once again, the man transported to the hospital in Beatrice was sent home. As of Sunday night the other man remained at St. Elizabeth's.