A maintenance worker was killed and 13 were sent to hospitals with injuries after an explosion and large fire at a metal plant outside of Cleveland, Ohio.

Emergency crews responded to I. Schumann & Co. in Bedford, Ohio, around 2:20 p.m. on Monday. The cause of the explosion is still unclear, but photos shared on social media and in local news reports showed debris scattered for hundreds of yards, damaged vehicles and a plume of smoke visible for miles.

Steven Mullins, 46, died in the explosion and had worked at the company for nearly 30 years, according to a statement from I. Schumann Tuesday.

Mullins was a "good friend to all" and "will be greatly missed," I. Schumann's statement said.

About 60 fire personnel from more than a dozen departments responded to the explosion, and the damage to the interior of the plant is "pretty catastrophic," Oakwood Village Fire Captain Brian DiRocco said at a press conference Tuesday.

The Environmental Protection Agency has been on scene and has not indicated a need to evacuate, DiRocco said.

DiRocco said the building has been in good standing with the fire department during annual fire safety inspections and has complied to correct violations. However, the plant received several violation citations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the last decade, according to records viewed by NPR.

Four victims were taken to MetroHealth medical center, a spokesperson confirmed to NPR. Two patients were in critical condition as of Tuesday morning.

Another seven patients were taken to a University Hospitals medical center, but had all been discharged by Tuesday afternoon, according to a center spokesperson.

I. Schumann & Co. recycles scrap metal into bronze and brass ingots and pellets, according to the company's website.

"We intend to cooperate with OSHA and other officials in their investigation as we search for answers in this tragic accident," I. Schumann's statement said. "We are working with our employees regarding their needs while the facility is idle and hope to have clarity on our operations in the near future."

In 2019, an employee was hospitalized with third-degree burns after molten metal splashed onto his coveralls and set his clothing on fire, according to OSHA records. Another OSHA report from 2022 shows the company paid penalties for failing to control hazardous energy.

I. Schumann & Co. is located roughly 70 miles northwest of East Palestine, Ohio, where the derailment of a train carrying toxic chemicals caused thousands to evacuate earlier this month.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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