On Thursday May 24th, 56-year-old Allen Kendrick was operating a forklift at a Procter & Gamble plant in Pineville, Louisiana. At around 3:00 am, the forklift exploded and caught fire, killing Kendrick, and injuring six other people.
According to a report from Seeking Alpha, the forklift was powered by Plug Power's GenDrive hydrogen fuel cell. OSHA is currently investigating the incident but the root cause of the explosion is not yet known.
Plug Power's CEO Andy Marsh released a statement this week regarding the incident at the plant. According to Marsh, the Pineville plant uses equipment from multiple vendors and the Power Plug fuel cell is one part of a larger system. The company, as well as other suppliers involved in the material handling system, are actively contributing to the root cause investigation of the accident.
According to Plug Power, which has 20,000 units in the field, the hydrogen fuel cells offer a time savings over traditional batteries. Normally a battery takes 15 minutes to charge per shift, the GenDrive takes just two minutes.
According to the AP, this was the first fatal accident in the plant's 49-year history. The company manufactures liquid and dry laundry detergent as well as Tide Pods at the facility.
Allen Kendrick was well known in the community which continues to mourn his loss. He was active in local choral and theater groups, and even a former band director at an area high school.
The investigation is ongoing and IEN will keep you updated as more details emerge.
This is IEN Now.
Update: A previous version of this video showed a Plug Power GenDrive hydrogen fuel cell being used on a Raymond brand forklift. According to Raymond Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary Louis Callea, the forklift involved in the incident at P&G was not a Raymond forklift.