Gaston, SC (WLTX) - One person is dead and two more are injured following a workplace accident at a Gaston plant Tuesday afternoon.
Calhoun County emergency officials say the accident happened around 12:15 p.m. at DAK Americas, which is located just off Interstate 26. People living in the Midlands may remember that site was the former Carolina Eastman plant.
Calhoun County Coroner Donnie Porth identified the victim as 63-year-old Alton Zeigler of Columbia. The other two patients are now being treated at the Augusta Burn Center.
Mark Leonhardt, a site manager with DAK, said the employees were working on a line that uses hot wax material, the kind used to help mold and build water bottles.
"We're all heartbroken about this," Leonhardt said. "Our hearts and prayers go out to the families. It's a very difficult time for everybody, and we're going to do everything that we can." He says they have counselors at hand for the employees and family members.
Employees told News19 this was very hard for them because they're all like family. That they felt like the company had a secure environment but this was a reminder of how dangerous the nature of their job really is.
Officials had at first told News19 that it was an explosion, but later clarified that it was a "workplace accident." David Chojackni with Calhoun County Emergency Services says the incident was isolated to one part of the complex.
Federal workplace investigators have been called to the scene, and the company's internal investigation team also is looking into the cause.
DAK Americas makes multiple types of fibers, plastics, and resins. It has 430 employees.