CORRIGAN, TX (KTRE) - On Monday, Corrigan Police Chief Darrell Gibson confirmed the names of the four Georgia-Pacific employees who were airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston after a fire broke out at the company's plywood mill Saturday night.
Gibson said the four men still at Memorial Hermann Hospital include Ralph Figgs, Charles Kovar, Jimmy Williams, and Kenneth Morris. As of Monday, Figgs was listed in fair condition while the other three were listed in critical condition, according to a hospital spokesperson.
In all seven Georgia-Pacific employees were injured in the fire. Eric Abercrombie, a spokesman for Georgia-Pacific, said three of employees were taken to a Lufkin hospital, where they were treated and released.
Abercrombie said around 6:30 p.m. Saturday there was an incident at the Corrigan plywood facility in the bag house. He described the bag house as a grain silo type structure that is 25 feet high and 12 foot in diameter. The bag house collects dust from sanding plywood.
Anytime you work with wood and wood fiber it can get hot and a fire can happen, Abercrombie said. He explained that Georgia-Pacific is fully equipped to deal with those types of situations and at this time the cause of the incident Saturday is unknown.
According to Abercrombie, a fire happened in the bag house and the pressure built up inside. The explosion doors, which are designed to open and vent out pressure, did what they were designed to do in such an incident.
"It was contained to the bag house and a bag house is where we collect dust from the sanding of our plywood," Abercrombie said. "It's part of the process. It's also an environmental control to help reduce the emissions of particles into the atmosphere."
Abercrombie said there were employees in the vicinity when the doors opened to release the pressure and flames came out through those doors.
Georgia-Pacific has provided accommodations for the families of those employees injured so they could be with them during this time. Abercrombie said their thoughts and prayers are with those families.
The Corrigan Mill has very few OSHA incident reports.
"The Corrigan plant is one of the best in the industry," said Abercrombie.
Every year OSHA release data that compare all of the plants in specific industries. To make the ratings fair, OSHA uses an equation to determine a total rate cast (TCR). The TCR is determined by Number of injuries and illnesses X 200,000 divided by employee hours worked.
The latest numbers from 2013 show the Corrigan plant having a rate of 1.25. The average industry rate was 5.9.
"This is great," said Abercrombie. "The hospital field has a much higher rate and we are in an industry where workers are dealing with heavy machinery in stressful situations."
Abercrombie said that in 2014, the plant has had two OSHA recordable cases. Recordable cases are any incident that required more than first aid.
"That does not include this incident," said Abercrombie. "It is still an open investigation."