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Explosion Rocks Radford Auto Parts Plant

May 28, 2012

Radford fire officials say 10 workers escaped injury in an explosion and fire at an automobile parts factory.

Fire Chief Lee Simpkins says 17 firefighters responded to the incident at the Grede Radford Foundry at about 12:15 Sunday morning. The fire was extinguished about two hours later.

Simpkins told The Roanoke Times that a holding furnace exploded in one of the foundry's casting lines, sending a 4-by-8-foot piece of metal through the roof and setting the plant ablaze. He said it's the worst accident at the foundry since a March 2000 explosion that killed three people.

The plant employed about 170 people when it was acquired by Grede Holdings in March. Company spokesman John Haas said Sunday that the extent of damage to the foundry had not been determined.

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