A worker was airlifted to the burn unit at an Atlanta hospital after an explosion and flash fire at Pyrotechnic Specialties, a pyrotechnic material manufacturer in Byron, GA. The industrial accident occurred Wednesday morning, around 10:30 am.
According to multiple reports, the worker suffered burns to the head, face, and hands, and his condition hasn't been released.
According to the local fire chief, the worker was manufacturing pellets out of potassium nitrate, which is used to make everything from rocket propellants and fireworks, to gunpowder.
According to WGXA, Pyrotechnic Specialties has a troubled history, including a raid by multiple federal agencies in 2005, an explosion in 2006, and the company's top executives were indicted for fraud and conspiracy in 2008 after defective stun grenades detonated inside an FBI agent's vest. The charges were later dropped.
A worker suffered an injury in a 2016 explosion, and the company has also received multiple OSHA fines for serious violations in the last four years.
According to its website, Pyrotechnic operates on a plant site of 380 acres with more than 100,000 square feet of manufacturing and storage space. The company designs and manufactures specialty automated equipment to load, assemble, and pack pyrotechnic, explosive, and non-lethal products.
We reached out to Pyrotechnic Specialties, but the company hasn't responded to our requests for comment.