Liberia: Explosion Leaves Seven Injured at Sethi Brothers Steel Factory

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BUSHROD ISLAND – At least seven persons have been injured at the Sethi Ferro Fabrik Incorporated modern steel manufacturing company in Gardnerville, outside Monrovia following an explosion at the facility.

The facility, which is being owned by the Sethi Brothers in Liberia, was dedicated as the first modern steel company by President George Manneh Weah on Tuesday, July 23, 2019.

The explosion at the facility occurred during the early morning hours of Wednesday, August 18.

The victims include four Liberians and three expatriates.

They are currently admitted at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Sinkor, Monrovia.

According to eyewitnesses, the explosion occurred following a shock on an electric induction furnace which was being used to melt steel by one of the workers at the facility.

They maintained that the explosion was prevented from escalating following the intervention of members of the company’s safety team backed by some workers who were on the scene when the incident occurred. 

The workers reportedly used fire extinguishers and water to lower the intensity of the explosion.

“This is the first time for such a thing (explosion) to take place here at the facility. Some of our colleagues were injured, but it is not really life-threatening and we hope that they can get well sooner to rejoin us at work. Sometimes these things happened at companies; but we just tell God thank you that nobody die”, one of the workers who spoke on condition of anonymity stated.

The explosion drew the attention of scores of community dwellers, commuters and passers-by.

Normal working activities at the facility were suspended for the day as a result of the incident in a bid to give full attention to the wellbeing of the victims.

Authorities of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Liberia National Police (LNP) went on the scene when the incident occurred to assess and investigate the cause of the explosion and its effect to the environment.

In a brief chat with FrontPage the President of Workers Union at the company Eric Bengar, called on the management of the company to guarantee the provision of adequate healthcare delivery to the victims.

 “We all know that this is an accident, but we want the management to make sure that our colleagues who are injured are treated properly so that they can be able to rejoin us”.

He further used this medium to commend the company’s management for the regular provision of safety gears to employees at the facility.

Meanwhile, the Management of the company, through its General Manager, Siafa Morgan, described the incident as an “unfortunate accident”.

The company management disclosed that though measures are in place at the facility to prevent or avoid explosion or fire outbreak at the company, the latest explosion at the facility is “shocking”.

It disclosed that the electric arc furnace equipment which caused the explosion was a brand new and modern equipment which was being handled by one of its experienced workers, but the manner and form in which it defaulted or malfunctioned goes beyond imagination.

Meanwhile, the company has expressed thanks and appreciation to its workforce for the level of support and efforts applied to arrest the situation.

“We want to express our sincere thanks also to the management team at the JFK for the swift efforts to provide adequate medical attention and care to the victims”.

Sethi Ferro Fabrik Incorporated modern steel manufacturing company has more than three hundred Liberians in its employ.

It is expected to employ at least 500 Liberians at full capacity.

The company is using scraps for the production of steel rods, but it has expressed interest in mining iron ores in Liberia to guarantee the mass production of steel rods and the employment of thousands of Liberians.

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