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Fiery explosion at Boulder City concrete plant comes after history of violations

BCFD scene pictures in wake of explosion and fire at Armorock
BCFD scene pictures in wake of explosion and fire at Armorock
BCFD scene pictures in wake of explosion and fire at Armorock
BCFD scene pictures in wake of explosion and fire at Armorock
BCFD scene pictures in wake of explosion and fire at Armorock
Posted at 6:15 PM, Jul 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-13 01:43:38-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The explosion and fire at a Boulder City manufacturing plant that left at least six people injured, including one who was severely burned, is raising questions about the company's past.

BREAKING STORY: Explosion, fire reported at Boulder City manufacturing plant

Firefighters are working with Nevada OSHA to determine what happened Monday morning at Armorock, a polymer concrete manufacturer that makes manholes and sewer pipes.

They use a special polymer concrete to make those products resistant to corrosion, but the chemicals they need to do that are volatile and the work can be dangerous.

13 Investigates learned danger may have been heading toward a boiling point as a source says there was a very recent complaint that's likely still under investigation. It was filed with Nevada OSHA for an unspecified safety concern within just the past few weeks.

13 Investigates also found that three months ago, Nevada OSHA issued five serious violations to Armorock for problems involving respiratory protection equipment, fork lift operation, and proper safety of an abrasive wheel grinder. In 2019, Armorock had an accident where an employee lost a thumb.

OSHA records show the worker was welding a 300-pound steel plate that was held in place overhead by a magnet, but it fell, crushing the worker's left thumb, which had to be amputated.

The company was fined $3,000, and hit with a serious OSHA violation for that accident.

13 Investigates learned Armorock's issues don't stop in Southern Nevada.

At the company's plant in Sulphur Springs, Texas, OSHA issued one willful and 25 serious violations after a worker was badly hurt in January. He was hit by a large mold and OSHA found Armorock failed to install machine guards that would have prevented the incident.

OSHA inspectors also learned a similar injury occurred at that Texas plant in March 2021 on the same platform where employees fill molds with resin.

OSHA has proposed penalties of more than $400,000.

Federal inspectors also found Armorock's "poor housekeeping" exposed workers to airborne silica at its Texas plant, putting them at increased risk for cancer and other potentially deadly lung and kidney disease.

The OSHA area director in Dallas said Armorock's "willingness to ignore hazards... is difficult to understand."

We've requested records to get more detail on the Nevada violations issued in April.

We'll update this story as information comes in.

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