1 dead, others hurt in Marion GM explosion

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Marion, Ind. (WISH)- The Marion GM stamping plant in Grant County will be open for first shift employees on Wednesday following a deadly chemical explosion. However, third shift for Tuesday has been cancelled except for maintenance and shipping drivers.

One person died and five others were injured after the blast on the west side of Marion. All of the victims have been released from the hospital.

1600 employees at the stamping plant make fenders, doors and hoods for General Motors products.

One of the employees injured during the explosion told 24 Hour News 8 he’s lucky to be alive.

“It’s just unfortunate things happened the way they did,” said Dwayne Stamper.

Nearly five hours after he was rushed to Marion General Hospital, Stamper walked out on his own carrying a bag of clothes and his boots. He was one of the six people injured during Tuesday’s explosion.

“We just heard a big boom and everybody went running to find out what the problem was,” Stamper said, “Then we saw gas throughout the air; security and everybody came over and done everything they could as quick as we could.

Stamper told 24-Hour News 8 anchor Daniel Miller he’s worked at the plant for 15 years and this is the first time something like this has happened.

“Our union, everybody, does everything they can to keep everybody safe. Everybody is on top of it all all the time,” Stamper said.

Stamper injured his right leg trying to help his co-workers after the explosion.

The Marion Coroner confirmed one of them, 48 year-old James L. Gibson, died of his injuries.

“This has been such a great plant for us since the 1950s and the great track record when it comes to safety and when we hear a loss like this it really affects the whole community,” said Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold.

Chris Johnson said he’s grateful. He was working inside the plant and heard the explosion, but wasn’t hurt.

“My wife says a prayer for me everyday and we take it lightly, but we never know when we are going to go to work and not come home. That’s really sad,” Johnson said.

Stamper is asking people to prayer for James Gibson’s family and the entire GM family during this difficult time.

An investigation is underway to find the cause of the explosion.

Counselors will be on site to provide employees services as needed.

The stamping plant is 64 miles north of Indianapolis.


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