1 killed, 4 injured in Army ammunition plant explosion

The Army Joint Munitions Command says the explosion happened Tuesday at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence.

Scott Allen with the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration says he has few immediate details about Tuesday afternoon's blast at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, just east of Kansas City.

The plant consists of 408 buildings, 43 magazines, 9 warehouses, and 11 igloos across 3,935 acres of land. Army officials said the explosion occurred in a building where chemicals are mixed and that it has been secured and rendered safe, allowing investigators to begin looking into what caused the blast.

The plant provides small-caliber munitions and operates the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's test center.

Mark Carrick, deputy fire chief in Independence, said the plant has its own fire brigade that is at the scene.

Federal workplace safety officials will investigate the explosion. Government staff there include 29 Army civilians and for-contract oversight.

Rudimentary details of the explosion in a (propellant) mixing building make the developing incident sound eerily familiar to the PB Clermont ammunition facility explosion in Belgium in March of 2014 that drove a global ammunition propellant shortage that affected the market for over a year.

NASDAQ reports that Orbital ATK is the largest manufacturer of small-caliber ammunition for the U.S. Department of Defense. OSHA fined the plant for workplace safety issues that year and also in 2008 and 2012.

A spokesperson told the AP that no more information was immediately available.

This is a developing story ... The explosion was in a primer mixing cell.

  • Larry Hoffman