UPDATE: Federal investigators gathering information on Fulton plant explosion

UPDATE at 2:30 p.m. – From The Associated Press – Federal investigators are gathering information one day after an explosion killed an Alabama man and injured three others at copper tubing plant in northeast Mississippi.

A spokesman for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said his agency had sent officials to investigate the blast.

It was the third fatality at the plant since 2008.

UPDATE at 11:42 a.m. – “It appears a maintenance accident on July 29 initiated a fire at Mueller Industries’ copper tube mill in Fulton, Mississippi resulting in one fatality and three other injuries. Production has been suspended while we work with the appropriate authorities to investigate the cause of the accident and to assess damage to our building and equipment
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to our employees and their families.”

– Above is a statement from John Hanson, President of Manufacturing Operations.

UPDATE at 10:30 a.m.: Itawamba County Sheriff Chris Dickinson told the Itawamba County Times this morning there was nothing new to report yet. We’re hearing Mueller will be releasing a company statement sometime today.

FULTON – An explosion at the Mueller Copper Tube plant in Fulton Wednesday afternoon resulted in the death of one and injury of three employees.
The explosion and fire were reported shortly before 4 p.m. at the plant on Mueller Brass Road.
According to Itawamba County Coroner Steven McNeese, plant employee Phillip Cason Hosch, 29, of Sulligent, Ala., was pronounced dead on arrival following a large explosion. McNeese said Hosch’s autopsy will be performed in Jackson today.
Rhonda Thomas, who lives in the Needlepoint subdivision near the plant, reported a sound “like dynamite exploding.” When she and her husband, David, ran outside to see what had happened, “the sky was covered with black smoke,” she said.
The plant was evacuated after the blast, and a Hazmat team was brought in to decontaminate people who might have had chemicals on them. The fire was extinguished by 5 p.m.
Mueller Copper Tube is the oldest and largest of four plants in the complex, which also contains Mueller Casting, Mueller Copper Fittings and Mueller Custom Pack.
Memphis-based Mueller Industries Inc. produces and distributes copper and brass products for plumbing and refrigeration.
The company was founded in 1917 as Mueller Metals Co., and was later known as Mueller Brass Co. in Port Huron, Mich.
Mueller last week announced second-quarter net income of $6 million on sales of $367.8 million. Sales last year topped $2.5 billion.
The company’s Fulton operation opened in 1969 and employs 300-400 employees.
According to its Web site, Mueller Industries Inc. “is a leading manufacturer of copper tube and fittings; brass and copper alloy rod, bar and shapes; aluminum and brass forgings; aluminum and copper impact extrusions; plastic fittings and valves; refrigeration valves and fittings; and fabricated tubular products.”
Mueller’s operations are located throughout the United States and in Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, and China.

Click here for an update at Itawamba360.com and reporter Adam Armour who was on the scene.

Click here for former Monroe Countian reportedly in Fulton plant explosion at Monroe360.com.

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