Explosion At Northwestern Indiana Business Hurts 3 Workers

Mike Krauser
August 14, 2019 - 10:42 am
East Chicago explosion

WBBM Newsradio/Kris Habermehl

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EAST CHICAGO, Ind. (AP) - Three workers at an East Chicago industrial business suffered burns in an explosion and fire that destroyed the business. 

The blast happened about 7:20 a.m. Wednesday at T.A.C. East Inc. in an industrial area of East Chicago.

“At 7:22 a.m. a call came in for an explosion at 200 East Gary Road, TAC truck tank cleaning services," said East Chicago Fire Chief Anthony Serna

Chief Serna said there was heavy smoke and flames in a four bay semi-tractor-trailer garage attached to an office.

“A total of five employees were affected by the explosion, three of which received burns, first, second and third-degree burns to their arms, legs and face.”

They were taken to Methodist Hospital Northlake Campus in Gary, Indiana. Two of them were later transferred to Chicago-area hospitals.

Investigators from the Indiana Fire Marshal’s office and the East Chicago Fire Department are working to determine the cause of the explosion, Serna said. Initial reports indicated the fire started with a boiler explosion, but further investigation revealed it may have involved the company’s tank cleaning process for cleaning tanks used to haul fuel or other chemicals.

The company cleans out tanker trucks, including those that haul gasoline. 

The smoke could be seen for miles. The building was destroyed.   

The fire spread from the garage to an attached two-story office building, according to Segura. The blaze in the garage was extinguished by 11:30 a.m., but crews are still working to put out the office building fire.