DECATUR — Four people were injured, including at least one from Limestone County, Wednesday in an industrial accident at the Solutia plant on Courtland Highway in Decatur.

One of the injured was Trevor Owens, 33, of East Limestone. Owens is the nephew of Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely. The sheriff said Wednesday that Owens and the three others — Solutia employees Teddy L. Grissom, 48, of Hillsboro, and Timothy M. Looney, 40, of Hartselle, along with Pellum A. Dumas, 52, of Courtland, whom plant officials identified as an employee of The Mundy Companies — were taken from the scene by ambulance to the University of Alabama Burn Center in Birmingham.

Solutia Plant Manager Phil Foster called it a “serious accident.” He said 350 people work on site at the plant, including 200 regular Solutia employees and 150 contractors. He said three of the injured were Solutia employees and the other was a contractor.

“I understand those injured got burned by some chemicals,” said Blakely, “and it occurred while they were changing out some type of pipe. I’m trying to get more on it, but right now we are on our way to Birmingham to check on Trevor.”

“At approximately 7 a.m. today (Wednesday) four workers were injured at the Solutia plant. The injuries occurred as the result of exposure to hexamethylenediamine (HMD) during a repair procedure,” said Foster in a prepared statement. “The four workers include three Solutia employees and one person employed by mechanical contractor Mundy. They were initially transported to Decatur General Hospital, listed in critical condition, and then transported to the burn center at the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) Hospital for treatment and evaluation of chemical burns. Solutia has informed family members and ensured they have transportation to Birmingham to be with their loved ones.”

Solutia manufactures HMD for use in the production of nylon fibers and plastics. It is a colorless liquid that causes burns to the skin and eyes on contact and irritation to the lungs if inhaled. The system involved in the incident was shut down and secured, Foster said.

There is no exposure to the surrounding area, company officials said. Solutia has notified the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of this incident.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with our injured co-workers and their families today,” said Foster. “The safety of our people is Solutia’s top priority. We deeply regret this incident occurred, and we are conducting an investigation to find the root cause of the problem and to ensure it does not happen again.”

Solutia did not identify the injured, saying that the company would name them once relatives of the injured are notified. They said they would provide further information as additional facts are confirmed.


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