New York City, NY Chemical Plant Explosion, July 1980


New York (AP) -- Four workers were killed and 40 injured, 11 of them critically, in an explosion Thursday in the chemical-filled basement of two metal fabricating companies, authorities said.
Sixteen firefighters and four paramedics were treated for smoke inhalation from a fire triggered by the blast.
Fire marshals were investigating the possibility that the explosion erupted when an electric welder being used to install bars on basement windows emmitted sparks near the chemicals, according to Deputy Chief Inspector Frank Sullivan.
Officals said three people were dead at the site in Queens -- the Vogue Metal Craft Co. and the Metgal Novelty Manufacturing Co. They were not immediately identified.
A fourth factory worker who suffered second and third degree burns over 80 percent of the body, died at the burn center at New York Hospital, according to William Greene, the hospital's administrator.
He said that victim was one of 12 factory employees admitted to the burn center. Of the 12, seven were admitted with burns over 80 percent of their bodies, Greene said.
The explosion at 1:40 p.m. sparked a fire that was confined to the basement and brought under control within 45 minutes, according to fire officials.

The Post Standard Syracuse New York 1980-07-25



New York (AP) -- The death toll from a Queens factory explosion rose to seven Friday as fire investigators confirmed that the blast was caused by sparks or heat from a welder's tool igniting lacquer vapors in a basement workroom.
Eight workers remained in critical condition at New York Hospital - Cornell Medical Center's burn center, three of them with burns over 70 to 90 per cent of their bodies.
After Thursday's explosion at Vogue Metal Craft Co., a factory making pocketbook frames, three workers were dead at the scene. The 12 most severely burned were hospitalized at the center in critical condition. Four of them died within 24 hours.
In addition, lesser injuries were suffered by another five workers, 16 firemen and four paramedics. Three firemen and the paramedics were hospitalized.
LEWIS CRUZ, 42, of Manhattan, and EVELYN RODRIGUEZ, 21, of Queens, died Friday at the burn center following the death Thursday of ANN BAIRES, 33, of Queens and the welder, JOSE MATEO, 24, of Manhattan.
Hospital authorities said the victims suffered from burns covering nearly their entire bodies.
Pronounced dead at the site of the explosion on Thursday were ISABEL MORALES, 34, of Brooklyn; JOSE ORTIZ, in his 30s, of The Bronx, and MERCEDES AGUIRRE, 34, of Queens.
Deputy Chief Fire Marshall Joseph O'Dowd said Friday that an investigation determined that MATEO was standing on a vent that carried lacquer fumes from a basement workroom.
(Note: ANN MARIE TOVAR, 30, died July 30th in the burn center.)

The Post Standard Syracuse New York 1980-07-26