15-Year-Veteran Dies in Creston Chemical Plant Explosion

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CRESTON, Iowa — OSHA has already begun its investigation on Thursday’s explosion at the Green Valley Chemical Plant in Creston. The explosion killed 71–year–old Eldon Ray Jr. and injured two others.

The chemical plant produces fertilizer, carbon dioxide and dry ice. Officials say a chemical spill is not what caused the explosion. Creston Fire Chief, Todd Jackson, says a six foot section of a four inch pipe ruptured.

“It was actually air, over pressured air that caused the explosion,” he says. “As my understanding they were opening and closing valves and trying to get heat to some of the buildings, trying to get heat to some of the buildings to try and increase the heat levels to those buildings.”

Ray Jr. worked at the plant for 15 years family members say. He was also a recent widower.

Officials say the impact was extremely forceful. It cracked six inch safety grade windows and the explosion could be heard and felt throughout town. Barb filer heard the explosion from several miles away.

“If you ever heard those big booms at the end of a firework? It was boom you could feel down your neck.”

Filer knew of Ray Jr. and prays his family can find peace.

“I hope they can survive with God’s help and prayers and get over it. I mean what else can you do? It’s such a sad thing.”

The general manager of Green Valley declined comment.

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